Public acceptance of nutrigenomics-based personalised nutrition : exploring the future with experts and consumers

A. Ronteltap

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU


Nutrigenomics is a recent discipline within nutrition sciences that aims at understanding how food components influence health status by affecting gene expression to eventually help maintain health and prevent disease. Nutrigenomics science has a potential consumer application in the form of so-called personalised nutrition: tailored dietary advice or even personalised food products that help consumers to select foods that are optimally aligned with their genetic constitution. However, due to the fact that nutrigenomics is an emerging science and personalised nutrition is still at an early stage of development, the views of both expert and lay stakeholders on the meaning, potential, and acceptability of personalised nutrition may still be divergent and developing. This dissertation takes up the challenge of understanding and anticipating public acceptance of nutrigenomics-based personalised nutrition. It aims to answer the central research question: What determines public acceptance of nutrigenomics-based personalised nutrition? For this purpose, three lines of research are
explored: development of a conceptual research framework from existing literature, expert views on the future of personalised nutrition, and consumer evaluations of different scenarios under which personalised nutrition might enter the market place.
The thesis’ theoretical contribution lies in an in-depth analysis of the concept of personalisation using marketing and consumer behaviour literature (chapter 2), and the development of a conceptual framework for consumer acceptance of food innovations (chapter 3). Empirically, results from a consumer study within a representative sample of Dutch consumers (chapter 5) reveal that freedom of choice, clear advantages, ease of applying personalised nutrition, and consensus among experts are important factors in enhancing consumer acceptance. However, the research in this thesis also shows that experts have not yet reached the necessary consensus on the scope and potential of nutrigenomics (chapter 4), and that experts do not expect that it will be easy for consumers to incorporate personalised nutrition into their daily lives (chapter 6). These, and other, issues can serve as inspiration for future research, as well as the further refinement of the generic framework for consumer acceptance of food innovations.
In conclusion, this thesis contributes to a better understanding of how public acceptance of the scientific innovation of nutrigenomics-based personalised nutrition comes about. It shows how issues critical for the further development of such an emerging science and the innovations arising from it can be systematically identified and addressed.

Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Wageningen University
  • van Trijp, Hans, Promotor
  • Renes, Reint-Jan, Co-promotor
Award date15 Oct 2008
Place of Publication[S.l.]
Print ISBNs9789085049982
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2008


  • consumer attitudes
  • genotype nutrition interaction
  • nutrition
  • consumer behaviour
  • innovation adoption
  • marketing
  • consumers
  • consumer preferences
  • experts
  • foods
  • nutrigenomics


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