|dc.description.abstract||Introduction: In recent years, obesity and other diet related health problems have been trending upwards. Consequently, functional foods, along with other healthy foods, have gradually gained prominence in our daily diet. China being a new market for dairy, and functional foods within dairy, is heavily dependent on imports to meet its growing domestic demand. Thus, this is of particular interest to New Zealand dairy exporters.
Purpose: The present study focussed on the role of two of health behaviour theories- the Health Belief Model (HBM) and the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB), to predict willingness to buy dairy functional foods (yoghurt in this study) amongst Chinese consumers.
Method: Data for this study was collected through an online survey distributed at various universities in China. The behavioural components of the models, such as perceived severity and susceptibility, perceived benefits and barriers, cues to action and self-efficacy, for HBM; and attitude, subjective norms and perceived behavioural control, for TPB, were measured. Willingness to buy was then estimated for each model using multivariate regression analysis. Cluster analysis was used to group consumers with similar characteristics.
Results: Empirical investigations have suggested that for Chinese consumers, TPB was a better predictor of willingness to buy, than HBM. This implied that the sampling population from China perceived functional foods as one that promoted health and not as a disease-avoiding food category. Attitude, self-efficacy and control over one’s behaviour, as perceived by consumers, were found to be significant predictors of willingness to buy amongst Chinese. The role of health consciousness as a moderator was found to be non-significant in predicting willingness to buy yoghurt. Clustering the consumers resulted in three clusters, each significantly distinct in their attitude, willingness to buy and health consciousness. Cluster 3 was observed to be significantly different from Cluster 1 & 2, and scored highest on willingness to buy, health consciousness and attitude towards yoghurt. A further investigation of the profile of consumers grouped as Cluster 3 revealed, that this segment comprised of single, young males, with college degrees and an above average household income. They reportedly lived in a household with children.
Originality value: There have been few stated preference studies on functional foods undertaken in European context, the US and a few Eastern countries. The author has found some publications investigating willingness to buy functional foods for consumers in China. However, none of these have used the theories of the Health Belief Model or the Theory of Planned Behaviour to study Chinese consumers’ willingness to buy yoghurt. The study adds to the existing body of knowledge by building on health behaviour theories to study the consumption behaviour of Chinese consumers.||en