Factors Affecting the Extent to which Consumers Incorporate Functional Ingredients into their Diets


  • John Cranfield,

  • Spencer Henson,

  • Oliver Masakure

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    • John Cranfield and Spencer Henson are Professors with the Department of Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada. E-mail: jcranfie@uoguelph.ca for correspondence. Oliver Masakure is Assistant Professor with the Department of Organizational Leadership and Human Rights, Wilfrid Laurier University, Brantford Campus, Brantford, ON N3T 6C9, Canada. The authors thank the anonymous referees and David Harvey for constructive comments.


This study considers the factors that explain the consumption of food and beverages with functional ingredients to avert or offset health problems. We use an instrumental variables Poisson regression model to deal with the endogeneity of perceived health status in functional ingredient use. The first stage results indicate that perceived health status is associated with attitude towards functional foods, food consumption motives and information seeking and being female. The second stage results suggest that individuals who consume more functional ingredients tend to have a positive attitude towards functional foods, are novelty-seeking, female and older. As expected, consumption of functional ingredients is more likely when consumers’ self-reports indicate that they are aware of functional foods’ nutritional value and the link with their own health. Consistent with previous research, most of the socio-demographics are poor predictors of functional ingredient consumption.