Coffee and Health in The Perspective of Young Consumers

Roberta Prado Rodrigues, Luciana Florêncio de Almeida


Coffee consumption has expanded at continuous and increasing rates in Brazil and in the world, and at the same time the interest by young people aged 16 to 25 have been increasing due to category innovations and coffeehouses experiences. (Euromonitor, 2016). Previous studies on coffee consumption have addressed a number of issues (Schollenberg, 2012; Chen and Lee, 2015; Carvalho, Paiva and Vieira, 2016; Wang, Yu, 2016), but few explored the functional aspects of coffee in consumer perception (Aguirre, 2016). In this context, this research seeks to add new knowledge to the existing framework with the central objective of understanding young people's perception of coffee as part of their healthy habits. The in-depth interview technique was used and seventeen cases were collected from 19 to 25 year olds in the second half of 2017. A semi-structured script was applied and it was based on the Health Belief Model (HBM) concepts, classified as one of the most relevant models to explain health behaviors. From the HBM adaptation emerged seven analytical categories used for data interpretation through qualitative content analysis. The results showed that, in general, coffee is not associated with a group of foods that are perceived as part of healthy habits, such as vegetables or fruits. However, coffee isn’t unhealthy such as energy drinks. Nevertheless, young people are not familiar with all its functional benefits. The perception of health is limited: coffee could be a source of wellness since it is a fuel for physical exercises or relaxation (break time) besides it is considered the main source of energy to improve productivity at work and in university life. In this specific moment, coffee becomes highly relevant not only as a source of energy to go further in career and studies, but also playing a key role as an instrument for socialization. In other words, besides being a natural stimulant, the drink is perceived as an important ally of adult life transition and symbol of contemporary lifestyle, which justifies its relevance at this stage of young people's life, marked by the quest for independence. Therefore, in the eyes of young people consumers, coffee seems to occupy a unique and strong territory where no other category of food and beverages could be positioned at.

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ISSN 2194-511X


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