An Insight of the Mauritian Consumers’ Awareness, Perceptions and Expectations of Functional Foods
International Journal of Nutrition and Food Sciences
Volume 2, Issue 2, March 2013, Pages: 52-59
Received: Mar. 17, 2013; Published: Mar. 10, 2013
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Authors
Keerti Devi Bholah, Department of Health Sciences, Faculty of Science, University of Mauritius, Réduit, Republic of Mauritius
Vidushi S. Neergheen-Bhujun, Department of Health Sciences, Faculty of Science and ANDI Centre of Excellence for Biomedical and Biomaterials Research, University of Mauritius, Réduit, Republic of Mauritius
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Abstract
During the past few decades, consumers have switched from an emphasis on satisfying hunger to an emphasis on the promising use of foods to promote well-being and to help reduce the risk of disease. This is particularly the case for the island of Mauritius where a variety of functional food products with different health claims have been observed in major supermarkets around the country. Since acceptance of functional foods depends largely on the awareness and perceptions of Mauritians regarding these foods, consumer research on functional foods remains vital. This study investigated the level of awareness and knowledge of Mauritian adults concerning functional foods and their purported health benefits. In addition, the perceptions of respondents towards health-enhancing foods and their willingness to try functional foods were also studied. Information pertaining to knowledge, awareness, perceptions and interest regarding functional foods as well as so-cio-demographic characteristics were collected from a representative random sample of 384 Mauritian adults aged above 18 years. The survey was conducted in 8 supermarkets and shopping centres of Mauritius. The data indicated that though 85.5% of participants were aware of foods which may help in preventing certain diseases, only 13.8% of the sample population was familiar with the term ‘functional foods’. Pearson Chi-Square test indicated that awareness of functional foods was dependent on gender (p<0.05), age (p<0.01), level of education (p<0.01), monthly household income (p<0.01) and health status of respondent (p<0.01). Besides, perceptions of respondents towards health-enhancing foods were relatively positive and 84.6% of them were willing to try functional foods in the future. The results indicated a relatively low level of awareness and knowledge concerning functional foods in Mauritius but also noted an interest of the consumers for these products.
Keywords
Functional Foods, Awareness, Knowledge, Perceptions, Health Benefits
To cite this article
Keerti Devi Bholah, Vidushi S. Neergheen-Bhujun, An Insight of the Mauritian Consumers’ Awareness, Perceptions and Expectations of Functional Foods, International Journal of Nutrition and Food Sciences. Vol. 2, No. 2, 2013, pp. 52-59. doi: 10.11648/j.ijnfs.20130202.15
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