This thesis provides a generalized model predicting Danish consumers’ buying intention of new probiotic foods. Through application of the Theory of Planned Behavior, the significance and strength of each of the underlying factors has been tested and their combined predictive power estimated. The result of a multiple regression analysis revealed that both attitude, subjective norm and perceived behavioral control had a significant influence on buying intention. The model explained a total of 52.7% of the variance in intention. As expected, the attitude proved to possess the strongest direct influence on intention.
Preliminary investigation of previous research on behavioral intentions regarding functional foods had suggested that attitude be considered the primary and most influential determinant explaining intention. On these grounds, it was decided to perform a decomposition of the attitude element in order to reveal its underlying drivers.
Based on the theoretical framework and previous research on the subject, eight determinants were identified, and hypotheses raised. A qualitative approach was applied to explore and provisionally test the hypotheses through acquisition of expert knowledge and consumer insights. The qualitative methods also extended the understanding of consumer rationales behind determinants thus increasing validity of the questionnaire data. Finally, statistical tests enabled final confirmation or rejection of hypothesized significant influences. It was found that attitude was significantly positively influenced by perceived health and perceived naturalness and negatively influenced by price and habits. The model explained 57% of the variance in attitude.
Furthermore, the recognition of new probiotic foods assuming the status of an innovation demanded a critical evaluation of the applicability of the theory. Particular doubts concerned the ability of the framework to capture the direct influence of consumer innovativeness on buying intention. Based on the theoretical definition, innovativeness was considered a general disposition towards innovation. It was argued that measurement of this particular element was not already comprised in the model.
The validity of the model was conditioned upon the dismissal of behavioral differences between consumers’ affiliation with adoption groups. However, the influence of each of the determinants varied between consumers of different groups. Innovators were driven by attitude exclusively; Early adopters and early majority by attitude, subjective norm and perceived behavioral control; and late majority by attitude and subjective norm. The specific determinants predicting attitude also revealed a dependence on consumer innovativeness.
Based on these findings it was decided to challenge the framework by attempting to increase the predictive power of the model initially constructed. It was hypothesized that innovativeness would prove a significant direct influence on intention and increase predictive power of model. The hypothesis was tested by adding an additional component in terms of a determinant reflecting consumer innovativeness alongside attitude, subjective norm and perceived behavioral control. The hypothesis was confirmed thus concluding the statistical analytics of the thesis. As a result of adding the variable, the explanatory power of the model revealed a modest increase reaching 53.4%.
The combination of qualitative and quantitative methods enabled the research to benefit from the use of method triangulation and also provided inputs for discussion of discrepancies between survey results and the theoretical base. These included arguments for and against applying the concept of innovativeness in relation to functional foods. Arguments against included the low involvement and lack of perceived risk that the consumer was expected to experience.
Assuming generalizability of statistical results, practical implications include market strategic considerations relevant for marketeers considering launching new probiotic and/or other functional foods not yet introduced to Danish consumers.
The validity of the extended TPB model is hypothesized to increase with the perceived risk associated with the specific behavior defined. This is considered a working hypothesis providing basis for further theoretical research.
|Educations||MSc in Economics and Marketing, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis|
|Number of pages||124|