a survey on the role of individual consumer characteristics in predicting the attitudes and adoption intentions of US American and Danish respondents
Background: Consumers increasingly choose food supplements in addition to their diet. Research on supplement users finds they are likely to be female, older and well-educated; Furthermore, supplement users are often characterised as being especially health-oriented, an observation which is termed the ‘inverse supplement hypothesis’. However, results are dependent on the substance in question. Little is known so far about botanicals in general, and more specifically, little is known about resveratrol. The psychographic variables of food supplement users are yet relatively underexplored. By comparing US and Danish respondents, we aimed to identify whether sociodemographic variables, health status, health beliefs and behaviour and interest in food aspects specifically relevant to resveratrol (e.g., naturalness, indulgence, and Mediterranean food) explain favourable attitudes and adoption intentions toward resveratrol supplements. Methods: A survey sent to a representative online panel in the United States and Denmark was analysed using linear regression. Results: We find that sociodemographic variables contribute little to explaining favourable attitudes toward and adoption intentions of resveratrol supplements, except for the negative association with higher education in the United States. The inverse supplement hypothesis was not confirmed. Belief in the favourable health effects of resveratrol and usage of complementary and alternative medicine positively affect attitudes and adoption intention. An interest in the indulgence dimension of food explains positive attitudes in the United States and adoption intentions in both countries. Conclusions: The results indicate that potential consumers of resveratrol supplements are identified by their usage of complementary and alternative medicine, rather than by sociodemographic variables. They are not characterised by especially healthy behaviours, which contradicts the inverse supplement hypothesis. Instead, potential consumers of resveratrol supplements may be characterised by their focus on the indulgence dimension of food.