Awareness, knowledge, understanding and readiness to adopt bioactive food ingredients as part of functional food consumption by health-conscious consumers of the City of Cape Town
Functional foods (and dietary supplements) containing bioactive food ingredients are more likely to be adopted by consumers who are aware of, have knowledge and an understanding of these ingredients. The first aim of this survey was to determine the consumer awareness, knowledge and understanding of ten bioactive food ingredients. As a second aim, associations between the consumer awareness, knowledge and understanding of each bioactive food ingredient and the consumer interest in, and knowledge of, food and nutrition, and health and wellness were determined. Consumer interest and knowledge are fundamental factors supporting consumer adoption of new products. Representing the health-conscious consumer 139 gymnasium/fitness centre subscribers and/or dietary supplement users from two middle-to-upper socio-economic sub-councils of the City of Cape Town Metropolitan Municipality voluntarily participated. The top five bioactive food ingredients recognised by the respondents were omega-3 fatty acids (97,1%), antioxidants (87,1%), probiotics (84,9%), soy protein (83,5%) and beta-carotene (68,3%). Omega-3 also produced the highest percentage of respondents with understanding of it as ingredient. Significant differences (p < 0,05) between the awareness, knowledge and understanding of omega-3 by the respondents and their perceived interest in, and knowledge of, food and nutrition, as well as health and wellness, were found. This placed omega-3 fatty acids closest to product adoption and consumption and differentiated it from soy protein and beta-carotene which were not found to be significantly (p > 0,05) associated with any of these factors.