What motivates consumers to choose sugared dairy products? A cross-sectional, online survey
Too much sugar is known to have a negative effect of consumers’ health, however the intake of added sugars has risen steadily over the years, resulting in a less healthy diet. A constant high intake of sugar-rich foods can lead to diseases such obesity and diabetes. Dairy product consumption is encouraged by dietary guidelines worldwide, yet food industries are adding large amounts of sugar to these products. Research into South African consumers’ motives to choose and eat sugared products is still unrepresented in the international scientific literature, despite the growing economic significance of these markets. Furthermore a lack of knowledge exists regarding the sugar content in sugared dairy products among consumers. In order to understand why consumers choose such dairy products, it is necessary to comprehend sugar as an ingredient in food products, specifically sugared dairy, as well as consumers’ motivations and food choices as determining factors in food choice behaviour. This cross-sectional study investigated consumers’ motives to choose and eat sugared dairy products. Adults (18 to 54 years; 40 males; 35 females) (n = 75) participated in an online survey. Consumers were motivated by sensory appeal, convenience and price to choose SDPs. Physical- and social eating contributed to their motives for eating sugared dairy products. Consumers’ motives for these products were in contrast with their health values as they were unaware of the high levels of sugar present in sugared dairy products. These results suggest that a better understanding of food choice motives will enable the dairy industry and consumers to make more informed decisions and promote healthier food choices. Additionally, these results underline the need to re-evaluate and revise current food-based dietary guidelines and the classification of dairy products.