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How circular will you eat? The sustainability challenge in food and consumer reaction to either waste-to-value or yet underused novel ingredients in food.

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In the light of the sustainability challenge ahead, the food sector has to become more resource efficient. This includes moving towards a circularity approach in which by-products from production side-streams are re-inserted into the food chain. However, it is unclear how consumers react to food products based on ingredients previously wasted in the supply chain, or innovative food ingredients from yet underused production streams. The current study uses an experimental survey design to assess consumer attitude towards a plant-based cocoa drink among 491 Danish consumers of cocoa-flavoured drinks. In a between-subjects design, the product is first, either from the market leader in plant-based drinks or from an unfamiliar, non-Danish brand, second, contains either potato or grass protein, and third, is presented with or without communication on the sustainability benefit. The benefit consists of potato protein being from by-products previously wasted, and grass protein an innovative ingredient yet underused for food purpose. Attitude towards the new product is assessed relative to a soy based cocoa drink of the same brand. ANOVA results show a main effect of gender and brand and an interaction of ingredient with both brand and communication, respectively. For both grass and potato proteins, the unknown brand is relatively preferred – more pronounced for potato – and better liked by males. Communication improves attitude towards potato drink. Findings imply that brand- and product design-related differences play a role in determining attitude to products with such new ingredients. Consumers’ relatively lower attitude towards the potato ingredient can be alleviated by communication.

Original languageEnglish
JournalFood Quality and Preference
Pages (from-to)15-20
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019

    Research areas

  • Consumer attitude, Food waste, Grass protein, Innovation, Novel food, Potato protein

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