Consumers in Western countries increasingly appreciate health benefits of soy products. However, several barriers prevent full acceptance of these products. This study investigates the effects of product-related factors (perceived familiarity and expected healthiness) and person-related factors (food neophobia and health interest) on consumer hedonic responses to various soy products. In the pre-study, 48 German-speaking participants assessed the perceived familiarity, healthiness and tastiness for 21 soy products. In the main study, four soy products that differed in familiarity and healthiness were presented to German consumers (n = 327) as images supplemented by product names and slogans stressing either health or taste benefits. Participants rated their attitudes towards the product, product liking, taste expectations and willingness to try the products in a 2 (familiar or unfamiliar products) × 2 (healthy or tasty products) × 2 (low or high food neophobia) between-subject design. As hypothesized, neophilic consumers showed more positive responses to soy products compared to neophobic consumers. Neophobics showed more positive responses to familiar soy products, whereas the responses of neophilics were not influenced by product familiarity. Health interest positively influenced the willingness to try soy products. However, the effect of healthiness manipulation on hedonic responses to experimental products was not significant. The results of the study suggest that perceived familiarity might be more important for acceptance of soy products than expected healthiness. Successful marketing strategies for soy products should target neophobic consumers by increasing the level of familiarity of soy foods.
Fenko, A., Backhaus, B. W., & van Hoof, J. J. (2015). The influence of product- and person-related factors on consumer hedonic responses to soy products. Food quality and preference, 41, 30-40. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodqual.2014.11.009