The Hype of Superfoods - A Marketing Success Story to Deceive Consumers?

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In this research, the consumers’ perception on superfood marketing was investigated. As literature in the field of food labels and the COO effect contradicts the advertising of superfoods, the question ‘in what way does the display of the COO and the food labels affect participants’ willingness to try new foods, evaluation of the product and their intention to buy the product’ was examined. More specifically, it was predicted that scientific language use compared to basic and tasty language use will increase participants’ willingness to try new foods, evaluation of the product and their intention to buy the product. Tasty language use compared to a basic one was predicted to be assessed better by participants. Additionally, an interaction between COO and food label was predicted. Participants’ level of ethnocentrism and food neophobia were examined to see whether they influence the results. A total number of N=74 participants took part in the present study. Participants were exposed to six ads, each containing a combination of food label (basic, tasty or scientific) and COO (domestic or international). Among the results, it was found that domestic food labels were assessed more positively than international food labels. The exposure of scientific food labels led to higher purchase intentions than basic and tasty food labels, regardless of the participants’ level of ethnocentrism and food neophobia. The findings confirm the prediction that superfood advertising contradicts previous research in the field of food advertising. These new insights may be used by marketers to adopt their marketing strategies and to motivate people to consume more domestic products and fight global warming. Future research may focus on replicating the current study and further investigate whether the results may be influenced by participants’ lifestyle and concern for global warming.
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