Body image dissatisfaction and health-enhancing food choices: A pilot study from a sample of Italian yogurt consumers

Francesco Bimbo*, Alessandro Bonanno, Hans van Trijp, Rosaria Viscecchia

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose: Psychological factors, such as body image dissatisfaction and the negative feelings associated with it may be related to the adoption of unhealthy eating behaviours. Also, body image dissatisfaction may lower the likelihood of engaging in long-term healthy eating habits and in the level of attention paid to the quality of the food consumed. As a result, body image may be related to consumers’ choice to purchase and consume health-enhancing food products. The paper aims to discuss these issues. Design/methodology/approach: A pilot study of a small sample of Italian yogurt consumers was employed to explore if there is a relationship between respondents’ level of body image dissatisfaction and the number of health-enhancing yogurt choices. The data were collected by means of a virtual-shelf technique and were analysed using a negative binomial regression. Findings: Results indicate that body image dissatisfaction is inversely related to the number of yogurt packages with health-enhancing features chosen from the virtual shelf. Also, respondents who read the nutrition label and those with more knowledge regarding leading functional yogurt brands, selected a higher number of functional yogurts from the virtual shelf compared, especially among women. Research limitations/implications: The results indicate that body image dissatisfaction is inversely related to the number of yogurt packages with health-enhancing features chosen from the virtual shelf. Also, respondents who read the nutrition label and those with more knowledge regarding leading health-enhancing yogurt brands selected a higher number of health-enhancing yogurts options from the virtual shelf compared to others, especially among women. Originality/value: The relationship between body image dissatisfaction and health-enhancing food choices has not been investigated in the consumer science and marketing literature. Additionally, this is one of the few papers that use a virtual shelf as a data-collection method.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2778-2792
JournalBritish Food Journal
Volume120
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018

Keywords

  • Body image dissatisfaction
  • Food choices
  • Functional foods

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