Purpose – Conflicting values are resolved through a process called value negotiation, but the nature of this process remains largely unexplored. This study aims to explore how consumers undergoing rapid socio‐economic transition manage their conflicting values in making choices concerning functional foods. Design/methodology/approach – Data for this study were collected qualitatively using ethnoconsumerist and grounded‐theory methodologies. In combination, these two approaches enabled the researcher to conduct research at the emic‐level (within culture). Findings – The exploratory model was developed to illustrate how the main three ethnic groups in Malaysia manage their values in terms of functional food consumption. The results showed that participants did not spend much time consciously considering their consumption choices or their values until they were faced with choices or personal values that were inconsistent with cultural, physical and product characteristics. Values are managed by prioritisation and balancing to suit the participant's health needs and situation. Research limitations/implications – The study's findings are based only on the Malay, Chinese and Indian ethnic groups in Malaysia. Practical implications – The model can be used to help food practitioners, policy‐makers and educators evaluate practices aimed at improving dietary behaviour. Originality/value – The finding gives new insight into how consumers in developing multicultural society consume functional foods.
British Food Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: Aug 9, 2011
Keywords: Functional food; Multicultural societies; Cultural values; Value negotiation; Consumer behaviour; Food products; Consumption; Malaysia