Food or drugs? What drives consumers’ perception of borderline products? – Presented by Stefanie Bröring, University of Bonn

Stefanie Bröring

Food or drugs? What drives consumers’ perception of borderline products? – Presented by Stefanie Bröring, University of Bonn, at the  Healthy Nutrition Conference, 27 June 2018, Brightlands Campus, Venlo, The Netherlands.

Increasing interest of food and pharmaceutical companies as well as consumers in health and well-being has resulted in the emergence of “borderline products” like functional food and supplements, which demonstrate properties of both food and drugs to a certain extent. Understanding consumers’ perception of borderline products is relevant for companies and policymakers to valorise their research efforts and achieve consumer protection respectively. This motivates exploration of the research question what drives consumers’ perception of borderline products?

Insights from two consumer studies suggest that presentation factors could be more influential than functionality factors. Appearance of the product (as food or drug) seems to be the main driving factor behind consumers’ perception of borderline products as food or drugs. Along with appearance, positioning in the distribution channel (e.g. near conventional food), dosage (e.g. similar to medicine) and the perceived functionality (i.e. beneficial effects) may also influence consumers’ perception of borderline products. These findings could be interesting for companies to differentiate their products through innovative product packaging and positioning strategies by collaborating with retailers. Policymakers may consider important influential factors from consumer perspective to deal with ambiguous categorisation of borderline products. Continue reading “Food or drugs? What drives consumers’ perception of borderline products? – Presented by Stefanie Bröring, University of Bonn”