Danish and Swedish consumers’ perception of functional foods: A case study of Coca-Cola light plus with vitamins

Jesper Lindahl Olsen & Sara Maria Baastrup Jacobsen

Student thesis: Master thesis


Functional Foods is a category of food products that has emerged, as a consequence of consumers increasing interest in the relationship between diet and health. The attitude towards functional foods is very different in Denmark and Sweden, even though the two countries are usually perceived to be similar in many ways. We thus found it interesting to conduct a comparative analysis of the two countries in order to understand the cognitive structure that determines the perception of functional food products. In order to investigate the perceptions in the two countries, we have conducted a case study based on a functional soft drink introduced by The Coca-Cola Company on both the Swedish and Danish market: Coca-Cola light plus with vitamins (CCL+). One purpose of the thesis is thus to provide The Coca-Cola Company with information regarding their target group’s cognitive structure of CCL+. Another is to contribute to the knowledgebase of functional foods in Denmark and Sweden. By applying the Means-End Chain theory and the Laddering interview technique, we have established the determinants that influence the perception of CCL+. We have done this by identifying the abstract and concrete attributes, the functional and psychosocial consequences, and the instrumental and terminal values, as perceived by ten Danish and ten Swedish women aged 20-39 years old. We found that the Danish and Swedish respondents have very different cognitive structures regarding CCL+. The Danes reacted to both the product and the concept itself. They compared CCL+ to a vitamin pill and found it inferior due to both the content and the fact that they perceived it to be unhealthy. As they were unfamiliar with functional food products, they related the concept to discussions of ethics and morale. The Swedes had a more indifferent attitude towards both the product and the concept of functional foods. They perceived the product as superfluous as it was unhealthy compared to other functional products. They focused a great deal on the vessel, and as CCL+ is only sold in a can, they would not purchase it, as they preferred bottles.

EducationsMSc in International Marketing and Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2009
Number of pages166