Functional foods can be defined as foods that have a positive effect on health, beyond satisfying basic nutritional needs. These products have been developed in an attempt to improve the health status of the population and to reduce the global impact of chronic diseases. Despite the fact that it could be argued that consumers would undoubtedly accept this type of product, it has not been the case. Consumers’ choice behavior of functional foods is a complex process that involves many different factors, including sensory and nonsensory factors. Since consumers will only consider substituting conventional with functional foods if the latter are perceived as healthier, consumers’ attitudes toward health-related issues have been identified as central in determining choice behavior of functional foods. Besides, consumers’ perceived risk and concerns associated with processing technologies and scientific innovations also affect their perception of this type of food product. However, consumers’ attitudes toward functional foods do not depend only on their perceived healthiness and their trust in functional foods, but also on the same characteristics, including sensory quality, price, and convenience, as any conventional product. Consumers are not willing to negotiate those characteristics for eventual long-term health benefits. Therefore, when deciding to buy a certain functional food, consumers have to trade health, sensory, and other nonsensory factors, such as brand, price, and packaging. In this context, the aim of the present chapter is to review nonsensory factors which influence consumers’ choice behavior of functional foods.
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