Sunflower oil innovation, claim assessment and consumer’ motivations to accept this food

Franco Rosa, Federico Nassivera, Luca Iseppi


The food product innovation is advancing under pressure of: the growing request of innovations in foods products and processing challenging new consumers’ needs; 2.nd, the advance in nutrigenomics and its contribution to increase knowledge about the relation between nutrition and food, iii) biotechnologies contribution to create customized food products to satisfy a variety of customers’ needs (Hobbs, 2002).           An emerging food product category is the nutraceutic food, contributing to satisfy ‘nutrients’ and ‘medical needs; beside it is easier with genomic techniques the original food composition to challenge the customers’ needs it must be considered the consumers’ adverse reaction for any technique used to change the food product composition. Purpose of this research is to suggest a modification of the sunflower oil composition obtained with genomic technique to change the product from bulk commodity to enhanced specialty food with health claims. The traditional bulk commodity market is based on uniform quality standard, higher volume of production priced at the minimum marginal cost. The specialty market segment demands products with distinctive attributes of higher quality and safety standards, more varieties and sustainability, supported by marketing mix strategies to set up higher prices and better margins according with customers’ preferences. A growing importance in consumers’ preferences are the combination of nutritional, health and environmental attributes that must be properly communicated with ad hoc messages describing the product’s claim. To test the consumers’ awareness about healthy claim and willingness to accept these enhanced food products, an explorative SEM analysis is conducted with a questionnaire. The results suggest that the consumer is in favor of the health and environmental care, nevertheless it is opportune to examine in deeper the causes (health claim, technology and environmental impact, communication, culture and others) to convince the consumers to adopt these functional product. The first part of the research is dedicated to analyze the innovations and demonstrate the scientific evidence of the health claims of the modified sunflower oil, describing the role of PUFA (Poly-unsaturated fatty acids).  It is discussed the metabolic pathway of the eico-esanoid EPA and DHA generated from modified sunflower oil, responsible of benefic effects on the human metabolism. The second part is dedicated to the inference about the consumers’ acceptance of this functional sunflower oil using SEM model. It is our conviction that this procedure will open new perspectives of food innovation in creation of nutrition and healthy food  to satisfy the growing population in the world. 

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ISSN 2194-511X


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