Added value of physical food products as a stimulus during interviewing

Femke W.M. Damen*, Bea L.P.A. Steenbekkers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Semi-structured interviews are an often-used method for researching consumer perceptions of food products. However, understanding detailed and in-depth how consumers perceive food products is challenging for researchers because it could be difficult for consumers to express their motives and perceptions. In our previous studies using semi-structured interviews, this difficulty to express perceptions was also recognized, especially when concepts like naturalness, sustainability and healthiness were discussed. However, in both studies physical food products were used as stimuli and there was an indication that there might be differences in the number and type of answers given before and after the use of these stimuli products. Therefore, the current research aimed at showing effects and the possible value of using physical food stimuli products during semi-structured interviews. Two different studies were used to reach this aim, one study about the health perception of mothers and the other study about the naturalness, sustainability and healthiness perception of adolescents, both using snack products as physical stimuli. In both studies, the use of physical stimuli products appeared to be effective and useful. The comparison of the answers with and without stimuli products showed that using stimuli products provides more, and more detailed answers on the perception of the products. Therefore, the results of this study could serve as a guideline on the use of food stimuli products during semi-structured interviews.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105819
Early online date20 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2022


  • Adolescent
  • Food choice
  • Interview
  • Mother
  • Qualitative research
  • Stimulus product

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