A research article on consumers’ perceptions of health-enhancing innovations has been published as an online version in International Journal of Consumer Studies.
An article written by ADELE researchers, Riikka Puhakka, Raisa Valve and Aki Sinkkonen, examines how older consumers perceive functional foods and novel non-edible health-enhancing products, how willing they are to purchase such products, and how health orientation influences their views. As an example of a ‘radical’ innovation, consumers’ acceptance of rubbing their hands in a specific soil-based mixture to modulate the immune system is explored. The research material, 13 thematic interviews, was collected in Lahti region, Finland, in 2015. The study indicates that the older consumers’ market is not homogeneous. Based on a qualitative, in-depth approach, the study distinguishes four consumer segments with different lay understandings of health and attitudes towards health-enhancing products, which influence people’s willingness to purchase such products. The segments are health-seeking consumers, cautious consumers, critical consumers, and natural health consumers. Various motives and barriers for using products with health claims are also identified. The case of rubbing hands in organic soil-based mixture indicates the difficulty of predicting which consumer segment will first adopt this kind of ‘radical’ innovation. The results highlight that the credence qualities of a novel product must be communicated and advertised before entering the market while also taking into account the sensory properties of the product. ‘Radical innovations’ must be in a form that consumers can easily accept.