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Consumers’ perceptions of HPP and PEF food products
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  • 1. Consumers’ perceptions of HPPand PEF food productsAnne-Mette SonneAarhus University, Aarhus, DenmarkKlaus G. Grunert, Nina Veflen Olsen and Britt-Signe GranliNofima, A˚ s, NorwayErzse´bet Szabo´ and Diana BanatiCentral Food Research Institute, Ministry of Rural Development, Budapest,HungaryAbstractPurpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine consumer attitudes towards apple juice producedby means of two new processing technologies, high-pressure processing (HPP) and pulsed electric fieldprocessing (PEF).Design/methodology/approach – Means-end chain approach is used. Laddering interviews areconducted with consumers in Norway, Denmark, Hungary and Slovakia.Findings – Consumers in this study did recognize and appreciate the benefits that HPP and PEFapple juice have to offer over a juice produced by pasteurization. The respondents in all four countriesassociated positive consequences with product attributes related to the nutritional value and the tasteof the products produced by means of these novel technologies. Also the environmental benefits fromprocessing foods by applying these technologies were seen as highly positive characteristics of thetechnologies. However, many respondents also expressed some scepticism, especially towards the PEFtreated juice and were unsure about if there were risks associated with consuming products processedby this technology.Practical implications – When new processing technologies are introduced, consumer acceptanceis one of the key issues for their future success. It is up to food producers and food scientists to providethe evidence that will convince consumers that these new technologies are safe to use.Originality/value – This research contributes to the limited knowledge on consumer attitudestowards food products produced by HPP and PEF. From a general perspective, the research expandsthe body of knowledge on consumer perception of food technologies.Keywords Norway, Denmark, Hungary, Slovakia, Consumer attitudes, Food technology,Food manufacturing processes, Soft drinks, New behavioural techniques, High-pressure processing,Pulsed electric field processingPaper type Research paper1. IntroductionNew food processing technologies are being developed continuously. While foodscientists may applaud the progress of science, consumers have been known to take amore conservative stand and they do not always readily accept the benefits of newThe current issue and full text archive of this journal is available atwww.emeraldinsight.com/0007-070X.htmThe authors would like to thank Annama´ria Polla´k-To´th for all her help with the data collectionfor this article. The research presented in this paper is part of an EU research project called NovelQ (2006-2011) whose main objective is to develop eco-friendly, novel processing technologies forimproved quality (fresh-like character, extended shelf-life) food. For further information pleasesee www.novelq.orgHPP and PEFfood products85Received August 2009Revised December 2009June 2010Accepted June 2010British Food JournalVol. 114 No. 1, 2012pp. 85-107q Emerald Group Publishing Limited0007-070XDOI 10.1108/00070701211197383
  • 2. processing methods. Experience from earlier examples (such as GMO and irradiation)show that the advantages, which a new technology has to offer, do not automaticallyguarantee the success of a product in the market place. If consumers do not recognizethe benefits of a new technology as relevant, its application is at stake. For example,studies of consumer attitudes towards GMO foods have found that consumeracceptance depends on whether they perceive specific benefits associated with theproduct (Frewer et al., 1996, 1997). Hence, a benefit that is perceived only to be in theinterest of the manufacturer is not sufficient to ensure consumer acceptance of a newproduct or technology.Earlier studies, especially on GMO acceptance, have also shown that technologyacceptance may be culturally dependent and hence may differ across countries(e.g. Bredahl, 2001; Chern et al., 2002). One possibly interesting dimension ofinter-country differences with regard to acceptance of food processing technologies is acomparison of Eastern and Northern Europe. Up until recently, consumers in EasternEurope lived in a market environment characterized by limited product variety andlimited use of advanced processing technologies compared to Northern Europe. On theother hand, consumers in Eastern Europe are more used to fresh food markets and maybe more used to the fresh taste of food. These factors result in differences in knowledgebased on which consumers can form attitudes towards new technologies as well as indifferent baselines for judging the potential benefits resulting from these technologies.This paper examines consumer attitudes towards apple juice produced by means oftwo new processing technologies, high-pressure processing (HPP) and pulsed electricfield processing (PEF), in four European countries. High pressure is a gentle processingtechnology that can be used for the preservation of food products. The product issubjected to pressure that inactivates most micro-organisms by damaging cellcomponents such as cell membranes. Like HPP, the Pulsed Electric Field technology isa gentle food processing technology suitable for preserving liquid and semi-liquid foodproducts. Electrical impulses are sent through the object damaging cell componentsand deactivating/inactivating most micro-organisms. Pulsed Electric Field and HighPressure technologies can substitute conventional heat pasteurization in foodpreservation and since the technologies operate at room temperature, they areenvironmentally friendly compared to conventional heat preservation. Both HPP andPEF preserve food quality and natural freshness, they produce nutritious andsafe-to-eat foods and extend microbiological shelf life without using chemicaladditives. Products manufactured by means of HPP or PEF are expected to result inproducts that are 10-20 per cent more expensive than the products on the market today.Large-scale introduction of HPP and PEF products will soon take place on the marketsin Europe. Therefore, from a managerial point of view, it is interesting to learn moreabout how consumers perceive food products manufactured by means of these novelprocessing technologies. From a general perspective, our research expands the body ofknowledge on consumer perception of food technologies, which at present is mostlyconcentrated on the application of GMOs, irradiation, and organic production.2. Theoretical approachIn this study, we want to analyze how consumers form attitudes when confronted withfood products that involve the use of a new processing technology. Attitude formation isusually studied by looking at how people form beliefs about the attitude object, i.e. howBFJ114,186
  • 3. the attitude object is associated to other concepts, as well as at the valence of theseconcepts. In our context this would involve looking at how the attitude to the foodproducts is formed by linking the product to use of the technology and to attributesfollowing from that use, and furthermore at the degree of liking of the technology and ofthe attributes. However, we feel that a thorough understanding of the attitude formationprocess requires a deeper understanding of the reasons why certain product attributes,including the technology used, are valenced positively or negatively. The means-endchain approach (Gutman, 1982) is useful when looking not only at attributes and theirvalences, but also at how these valences can be explained by how the attributes arementally linked to the consequences that they have for the consumer, and ultimately tovalues. Means-end chains represent individual consumers’ perceived connectionsbetween product attributes, the outcomes associated to these (consequences), and values.A number of studies support the basic assumption of the MEC theory that productattributes, which are associated with personal values, influence product preference morethan attributes that are not (e.g. Reynolds et al., 1985; Bech-Larsen et al., 1996). Whenapplied to the perception of new technologies used in food production, the application ofthe MEC theory generates insight not only into the degree of acceptance or rejection ofthe technology, but also into the reasons for this acceptance or rejection, as it reveals theinferences that consumers make from the use of the technology.Given the scarcity of research dealing with consumers’ attitudes towards HPP andPEF treated food products, a qualitative approach seems appropriate. Further, MECtheory has been used previously to investigate consumer acceptance of GMOtechnology (Bredahl, 1999; Grunert et al., 2001) and has been used successfully in manystudies on consumers’ attitudes to food products (Barrena and Sa´nchez, 2009; Costaet al., 2007; De Ferran and Grunert, 2007; Fotopoulos et al., 2003; Grunert et al., 2001;Judica and Perkins, 1992; Krystallis and Ness, 2003; Nielsen et al., 1998). Consumerdecision-making in relation to food is known to be largely influenced by habitual,symbolic and emotional aspects as well as characterised by a relatively low level ofinvolvement (Costa et al., 2003; Grunert et al., 1996; Steenkamp, 1997). By uncoveringhow attributes, consequences, and values are linked, MEC can shed light on howautomatic, unconscious, or emotional-based decision-making, take place (Olson andReynolds, 2001). MEC is thus assumed to accommodate emotional and less consciousfood consumption aspects and to produce satisfactory results even with lowinvolvement products (Grunert et al., 1995; Nielsen et al., 1998).MEC theory assumes that consumers do not buy products for the sake of products assuch, but for the benefits that can be gained from their consumption. By analyzing thelink between the consumer and the product, the means-end approach attempts to revealthe often hidden motives behind consumer choices. Through understanding thesesubjective links, an insight can be gained into which product attributes consumersprefer, and why they prefer them (Grunert, 2010). This can aid, for instance, a companyin its product development by providing a better understanding of which productcharacteristics the consumer perceives to be desirable/undesirable (Costa et al., 2003;Søndergaard and Harmsen, 2007). Or taking a starting point in the values consumers tryto fulfil by buying a product, one could ask “in what other way would it be possible tofulfil the consequences and general buying motives, consumers seek in a productcategory” resulting in the development of more innovative products. It has also beensuggested that means-end data can be useful for the development of advertisingHPP and PEFfood products87
  • 4. strategies by establishing the relevance of the different benefits for consumers and usingthis information in the positioning and the communication of the product (Bech-Larsen,2001; Jaeger and Macfie, 2001). In relation to the study of consumer acceptance of HPPand PEF, using the means-end chain approach can offer an improved understanding ofwhether or not consumers perceive juice treated with these new technologies as offeringdesirable product attributes. Furthermore, the insight gained into the consequencesconsumers associate with consuming HPP and PEF treated products and how theserelate to their underlying buying motives can be highly relevant in communicating withconsumers when introducing HPP and PEF products to the market.3. MethodologyIn most studies employing the means-end approach, consumers’ perceptions ofproducts and their links to self-relevant consequences and life values have beenmeasured by means of the laddering method (Grunert and Grunert, 1995; Reynolds andGutman, 1988). Laddering interviews were carried out in four countries: Denmark,Norway, Hungary and Slovakia. The choice of countries was motivated by our interestin looking into possible differences between Eastern and Northern Europeanconsumers. A total of 30 respondents were interviewed in each country. Therespondents were recruited from the 20 to 60 year age bracket, with an equal balance ofthe groups of 20-40 year olds and 40-60 year olds, and with an approximately equalgender balance. Different methods of recruitment were used. Recruitment by callingpeople listed in the local phone book was one. Also notes were posted in localsupermarkets and finally own databases containing contact details for consumers wereused. Consumers were screened on three criteria:(1) Consumed apple juice at least once a month.(2) Age.(3) Gender.Consumers who were suitable and willing to participate in the study were then askedto come to the research premises (in the different countries) for the interview. Theinterviews lasted between 45 and 90 minutes. Respondents received a small gift inreturn for their participation in the interview.A laddering interview consists of two steps: elicitation of product attributes andgeneration of consequences and values linked to these attributes. Various methodshave been used to generate attributes (Bech-Larsen and Nielsen, 1999). In our study,attributes were elicited using a ranking methodology. This method requiresrespondents to rank products according to preference and then to state the reasonsfor the ranking. The outcome is a list of attributes to base the interview on. We chosethis method because previous research has shown that more complex elicitationmethods like triadic sorting are more time-consuming and do not seem to outperformthe less complex elicitation techniques (Bech-Larsen and Nielsen, 1999). Furthermore itis possible to obtain additional information about respondents’ preferences throughtheir ranking of the products.Respondents were shown three juice cartons, one conventionally processed juice(pasteurized), one processed by means of PEF and one by HPP, and they were asked tostudy them for as long as they liked. Since generally consumers are not familiar with HPPand PEF products, it was necessary to describe the technologies and the advantagesBFJ114,188
  • 5. associated with them. The three cartons had the same design and only differed in thedescription of the processing method, the nutritional values and the shelf life of theproducts. The vitamin content was significantly higher for PEF and HPP juice than forthe pasteurized one, except in the Norwegian study. In the design of the study it had beendecided that the pasteurized juice should be comparable to the standard on the localmarket. In Hungary, Slovakia and Denmark this was considered to be a good quality juicemade from concentrate, in Norway it was considered to be a juice that was not made fromconcentrate (NFC). In the Norwegian study the difference in the vitamin content of theHPP and PEF juices compared to the pasteurized product was very small. The shelf lifewas set as shorter for the HPP and PEF juices in the countries where the conventionalproduct was made from concentrate and the same was the case for the NFC juice. Theadvantages of the PEF and HPP juices in terms of preserved taste, smell and colour aswell as the environmental benefits of the technology, i.e. lower energy and waterconsumption, were also described on the back of the cartons. Finally, the processingmethod was stated clearly on the front label (e.g. PEF treated). An overview of the stimuliused is provided in Table AI in the Appendix.When the respondents had studied the information on all three juice cartons, they wereasked to rank the three juices according to preference. Further, the respondents wereasked to elaborate on the reasons for their ranking of the three products. Based on theelicited product attributes, the interviewer followed up with a series of “why is thisimportant to you” type of questions to get the respondent to build “ladders” going fromproduct attributes to personal values. This resulted in one or more ladders per respondentfor each of the three products. This laddering method is referred to as “soft” ladderingsince it is an interview form where the respondent’s natural flow of speech is restricted aslittle as possible. In contrast, “hard” laddering refers to interviews and data collectiontechniques (e.g. questionnaires) where the respondent is forced to produce ladders onestep at a time, and to give answers in such a way that the sequence of the answers reflectsincreasing levels of abstraction (Russell et al., 2004; Grunert and Grunert, 1995).After completing the fieldwork, the ladder interviews were content analysed inorder to categorize statements into attributes, consequences and values. Throughmeaning-based interpretation of all individually mentioned concepts the data werethen coded into a smaller number of broader categories. The purpose of this was torepresent individual respondents’ ladders as closely as possible while at the same timecatching the gist across different respondents’ ladders.The analysis followed the basic principles suggested by Reynolds and Gutman(1988). An implication matrix was constructed from the coded ladders, showing alldirect, as well as indirect links between attributes, consequences and values. The nextstep was to derive hierarchical value maps from the matrix. Hierarchical value maps(HVM) are graphical illustrations of dominant connections between product attributes,consequences and values for a number of respondents. To aid the data analysis and toproduce hierarchical value maps we used the Mecanalyst (SKYMAX – DG) software.Construction of hierarchical value maps is a compromise between completeness of datarepresentation and parsimony in representation. In other words, a trade off has to bemade between richness of data and interpretability. Therefore, links betweencategories are only portrayed in the map to the extent that they were mentioned by acertain minimum of respondents. This number varies from country to country andfrom product to product. So the hierarchical value maps are produced with differentHPP and PEFfood products89
  • 6. cut-off levels based on the interpretability of the maps and inclusion of all centralrelations (Reynolds and Gutman, 1988; Grunert and Grunert, 1995).4. ResultsThe results provide insight into which attributes consumers associate with juicesprocessed by means of PEF, HPP and pasteurization and how these product attributesare related to abstract personal values. The results are presented first per product for allcountries; secondly, an analysis of north versus east European respondents is performed.4.1 Product preferencesWhen looking at which product respondents across all countries preferred, the HPPtreated juice was selected most frequently. The PEF treated juice was the one thatconsumers selected most frequently as their second choice and the pasteurized juicewas most the least preferred product choice. This is an interesting result since itindicates that consumers are positive towards juice produced by means of a newmethod that they consider to offer an advantage over a traditional processing methodlike pasteurization (see Figure 1).4.2 HPP juiceLooking then at the hierarchical value map for the HPP juice across all countriesFigure A1 shows that the most frequently mentioned attribute for this product was“high content of vitamins” (mentioned by 64 per cent of respondents). This wasconsidered to be particularly important because it leads to the consequence of “beingmore healthy”. Another attribute that was considered to lead to a healthier body wasthat the product does not contain any additives or added sugar, which is surprisinggiven the fact that none of the three products contained additives or added sugar. Aninteresting result is that “gentle processing method” is also perceived as leading to theconsequence of a healthier body. Health being considered a very central consequence isalso seen in its link to five personal values. To be healthy was considered to beimportant for a number of reasons; naturally it was considered important because it isdesirable to live a long and healthy life. But health was also considered to be importantbecause it influences the family’s well-being, improves quality of life and makes oneFigure 1.Ranking of HPP, PEF andpasteurized juice across allcountriesBFJ114,190
  • 7. feel good about oneself. Some respondents also mentioned that it was important to behealthy because a healthy person can achieve more in life.Some respondents also considered the high content of vitamins to be importantbecause it meant that they need not take vitamin tablets. It was also mentioned that a highintake of vitamins would have positive influence on the level of fitness and endurance.A second central attribute is “preserves taste”. HPP processing was mentioned aspreserving taste, which was perceived as influencing the naturalness and freshness ofthe product. Many respondents mentioned that they imagined it would be almost likeeating a real apple. This was perceived to be important because more enjoyment wasthe consequence and in the end it contributed to having more fun and pleasure in life.Finally, that the processing method was perceived to be environmentally friendlywas important because it is good for nature; many respondents said that this wasimportant to them because they felt responsible for nature.4.2.1 Cross-national comparison. When comparing the hierarchical value maps fornorth and east European respondents, Figures A2 and A3 (see Appendix), taste iscentral in both cases. The main difference is that in Norway and Denmark (north),respondents believed that the juice tastes/smells like fresh, natural apples due the HPPmethod preserving taste. In Hungary and Slovakia (east), the respondents saw this as aresult of the juice not being made from concentrate, rather than due to the method. Alsoit is worth noting that the north European consumers point to “tastes/smells like freshnatural apples” having the consequence that it is perceived as making you healthier.This indicates that “fresh and natural” is not only associated with taste but also withhealthiness. Healthiness is, of course, a very central consequence for both north andeast European consumers. Particularly this is due to the product being perceived asrich in vitamins. The difference lies in the values that are associated with healthiness.In both the north and the east European cases, healthiness is seen as having theconsequence of leading to “better work performance”. So it is considered important tobe healthy because then one can perform better at work. Doing well at work isimportant for different reasons; for the east European respondents this is related toachievement – for the north European respondents it is associated with feeling goodabout yourself and stimulation, i.e. being able to have an exciting and varied life.An interesting result is that in the two east European countries the essence of theHPP technology is mentioned with the attribute “made with pressure”. In the samemanner the east European respondents point to the consequences of “being healthier”and to the value “security”. This is an exciting result because it implies that althoughthe method makes use of high pressure, respondents associate it with a positiveconsequence as “health” and the value “security”. Also some of the north Europeanrespondents mention the method directly by noting that it is an unknown method.However, here it is a negative link. The attribute “unknown method” is linked directlyto the value “long healthy life” and should be interpreted as the unknown method couldprevent one from achieving a long and healthy life.That the method is environmentally friendly is considered important for both east andnorth European respondents. The main difference is that the north European respondentsconsider the method good for the environment which is considered important not onlybecause they have a sense of responsibility towards nature but also because they feelresponsible for other people as well as for mankind in general (i.e. future generations).HPP and PEFfood products91
  • 8. 4.3 PEF juiceA number of positive attributes were mentioned in connection with the PEF juice. Aswas also the case for the HPP juice, the attribute that was most frequently mentionedwas that the product is rich in vitamins. Again this was considered important because ithad the consequence that it would promote health. Further, it was considered importantto be healthy because it meant one would live a long and healthy life, it would increaseown and one’s family’s well-being and generally improve the quality of life.As was also the case for the HPP juice, the method is seen as environmentallyfriendly and this is considered important because it is good for the environment and inharmony with respondents’ feeling of responsibility towards nature. In the samemanner a number of respondents mention that the method preserves taste, which givesincreased enjoyment and in the end contributes to a more fun and pleasurable life.The biggest difference between the perception of PEF and HPP can be seen in thatthe HPP juice was merely associated with positive consequences, whereas this pictureis more nuanced in the case of PEF. While respondents appreciated some productattributes of the PEF treated juice, as can be seen in Figure A4, scepticism is expressedin the product attribute “made with electrical impulses” and “unknown method”.Electrical impulses are raised as an issue of concern since respondents are uncertain ofthe long-term consequences for the body when consuming food products treated withelectricity. It is an unknown method and there is a lack of information of how exactlythis method influences the product.4.3.1 Cross-national comparison. When we compare the two hierarchical valuemaps (HVM) (Figures A5 and A6, see Appendix) for Norway/Denmark andHungary/Slovakia we see that the scepticism towards PEF stands out even stronger.The east European respondents mention that the product produced by electricalimpulses makes you less healthy and that they feel unsure about what the long-termconsequences of consuming the product might be. There are also a number ofrespondents who feel that they are unfamiliar with a method that uses electricalimpulses and therefore they have less trust in the product. Also the north Europeanrespondents react against the fact that the product is manufactured using electricalimpulses. They fear that this may deposit something in the product. So although bothgroups of respondents are sceptical towards this electric impulse method, it seems thatthe east European respondents are more concerned about this. When looking atFigure A6, we see that the attribute “electrical impulses” is mentioned by 60 per cent ofrespondents (where only 25 per cent of north European respondents mentioned this)and there are also a higher number of consequences linked to the attribute “electricalimpulses” in the hierarchical value map for Hungary and Slovakia.4.4 Pasteurized juiceAs was also the case for the PEF juice, the pasteurized juice is evaluated as offering amix of benefits and disadvantages (see Figure A7). On the positive side is that themethod is well known and consequently the product is trusted and considered to be asafe product. Health is again a central theme and here the product is evaluated both ascontributing to a better health and as resulting in a less healthy body. It is consideredto lead to a healthier body for two reasons: the product is produced by means of awell-known method and it does not contain any additives (natural product, no sugar oradditives are added). A healthy body is important because respondents strive to have aBFJ114,192
  • 9. long and healthy life and because they would like to feel good about themselves. Thenegative impact on health is caused by the attribute “from concentrate”. As the onlyone of the three products, the pasteurized juice was made from concentrate. This wasevaluated as influencing taste and quality as well as the nutritional value of theproduct. Some respondents considered it to be of a lower quality than the two otherproducts, which were not made from concentrate. Also the taste (although respondentsdid not taste the product) was evaluated as artificial and less natural. That the producthad a lower content of vitamins was observed by a number of respondents (content ofvitamins was stated on the nutritional label) rating this as negative since the perceivedconsequence was that it would lead to a less healthy body.Only for the pasteurized product, did shelf life appear as an important attribute. Inthe cases where the pasteurized juice was made from concentrate (Denmark, Slovakia,Hungary) it has a longer shelf life than HPP and PEF treated juice. This is perceived tobe positive since one does not have to go shopping very often which leaves more timefor other things, such as spending time with one’s family and engaging in sports andother hobbies.4.4.1 Cross-national comparisonThe product’s long shelf life is only mentioned by the east European respondents(Figure A8, see Appendix). Also it stands out that the consequence of a longer shelf lifeis not only that you save time but you also save money because there is less waste, andit is possible to stockpile the product for later consumption. As can be seen inFigure A9, the north European respondents on the other hand also find it important tosave time shopping but see this as a consequence of a well-known product being fast tochoose at the supermarket. A well-known product does not require you to spend a lot oftime studying the product label trying to understand a new processing technology.As mentioned previously, many respondents noted that the attribute “made fromconcentrate” had the consequence that the product was of a lower quality. EastEuropean respondents see the consequence that juice no longer can replace one servingof fruit and vegetables. For the north European respondents, “made from concentrate”has the consequence that it is perceived as a product with a more artificial taste. Theinteresting effect here is that it is not only the fact that the product contains lessvitamins that is perceived as leading to a less healthy body but also the artificial tasteis considered to have an effect on health.A study of the hierarchical value map constructed using the Danish and theNorwegian data (Figure A9, see Appendix) will have the somewhat confusing result thatapproximately equal shares of respondents mention that the pasteurized juice containsless vitamins and that it is rich in vitamins. This can be explained by the fact that in theNorwegian study the conventional product was not made from concentrate which meantthat even if the vitamin content was a bit lower than in the HPP and PEF juices, manyrespondents still perceived it to have a high vitamin content. This Norwegian effect isalso seen with regard to taste that is described by some respondents as well preserved,most likely because the product is not made from concentrate.5. ConclusionBased on the results of this study, it seems that consumers do recognize and appreciatethe benefits that food products produced with HPP and PEF have to offer when thisHPP and PEFfood products93
  • 10. information is provided on the product label. The respondents in all four countriesassociated positive consequences with product attributes related to the nutritionalvalue and the taste of the products produced by means of these novel technologies.Also the environmental benefits from processing foods by applying these technologieswere seen as highly positive characteristics of the technologies. These results are incorrespondence with a Brazilian study of consumer acceptance of HPP juice (Delizaet al., 2005), which found that when the technology advantages were presented on thejuice labels, participants understood the benefits and expressed a higher intention topurchase the product than in the cases where the technology was just stated by name(e.g. HPP treated). The implication is that when introducing HPP and PEF products inEuropean markets it would be advisable to describe the technologies on the productlabels.The importance of consumers perceiving the advantages of HPP and PEF productswas also found in a European study including 3000 adults (Butz et al., 2003). The studyfound that 67 per cent of participants accepted high pressure processing and concludesthat consumers are ready to buy high-pressure processed products that haveadvantages, but do not have disadvantages. This may also explain why consumers inall four countries expressed scepticism towards the PEF treated juice. Although thePEF juice had the second largest number of first choice rankings, the PEF juice wasalso the product that consumers were most ambivalent about. The product wasperceived to have advantages but in many cases consumers also appeared unsureabout the risks that might be associated with this technology. Another explanation forthe respondents’ reservations toward the PEF juice is perhaps that when faced with thechoice between PEF and HPP, respondents tended to go for the HPP juice since it wasperceived as offering the same benefits as PEF and at the same time carrying less risk.Hence, more information about the technologies seems to be a key to achievingconsumer acceptance of products manufactured by means of these new technologies.This appears to be especially important in the case of introducing PEF products, sincemany consumers associated the name of the technology with electricity and weresceptical about what the side effects of using electricity in food production might be.This consumer scepticism towards pulsed electric field processing (PEF) is alsosupported in a previous study on consumer attitudes towards HPP and PEFtechnologies (Nielsen et al., 2009). Hence, food producers and food scientists mustprovide the evidence that will convince consumers that this technology is safe to use inconnection with food processing. Such information provision should occur in the earlyphases of introduction of these new technologies, as research on GMO acceptance hasshown that information may have the opposite of the intended effect once attitudeshave become more stable (Scholderer and Frewer, 2003).In conclusion, there seems to be good reason for doing further work on thedevelopment of PEF and HPP, as consumers see a potential in products manufacturedby means of these technologies. What is still missing in research on PEF and HPPtechnologies is a study of consumers’ trade-off between various product attributes,e.g. price, taste, shelf life and nutritional value. Few studies of HPP and PEF productshave been conducted, but one European study of consumer attitudes towards highpressure processed food products (Butz et al., 2003) found that consumers differedacross countries in their willingness to pay a premium for HPP products. Also a recentstudy of consumer attitudes towards high pressure freezing of food found that neitherBFJ114,194
  • 11. environmental benefits nor improved sensory quality could produce the lost utility of ahigher price (Lampila and La¨hteenma¨ki, 2007).Further, when actual PEF and HPP products will become available in Europe, it willalso be interesting to examine consumer attitudes and behaviour towards PEF andHPP products in real-life situations.ReferencesBarrena, R. and Sa´nchez, M. (2009), “Consumption frequency and degree of abstraction: a studyusing the laddering technique on beef consumers”, Food Quality and Preference, Vol. 20No. 2, pp. 144-55.Bech-Larsen, T. (2001), “Model-based development and testing of advertising messages:a comparative study of two campaign proposals based on the MECCAS model and aconventional approach”, International Journal of Advertising, Vol. 20 No. 4, pp. 499-519.Bech-Larsen, T. and Nielsen, N.A. (1999), “A comparison of five elicitation techniques forelicitation of attributes of low involvement products”, Journal of Economic Psychology,Vol. 20 No. 3, pp. 315-41.Bech-Larsen, T., Nielsen, N.A., Grunert, K.G. and Sørensen, E. (1996), “Means-end chains for lowinvolvement food products: a study of Danish consumers’ cognitions regarding differentapplications of vegetable oil”, MAPP Working Paper No. 41, Aarhus School of Business,Aarhus.Bredahl, L. (1999), “Consumers’ cognitions with regard to genetically modified foods: results of aqualitative study in four countries”, Appetite, Vol. 33 No. 3, pp. 343-60.Bredahl, L. (2001), “Determinants of consumer attitudes and purchase intentions with regard togenetically modified food: results of a cross-national survey”, Journal of Consumer Policy,Vol. 24 No. 1, pp. 23-61.Butz, P., Needs, E.C., Baron, A., Bayer, O., Geisel, B., Gupta, B., Oltersdorf, U. and Tauscher, B.(2003), “Consumer attitudes to high pressure food processing”, Food, Agriculture andEnvironment, Vol. 1 No. 1, pp. 30-4.Chern, W.S., Rickertsen, K., Tsuboi, N. and Fu, T.-T. (2002), “Consumer acceptance andwillingness to pay for genetically modified vegetable oil and salmon: a multiple-countryassessment”, AgBioForum, Vol. 5 No. 3, pp. 105-12.Costa, A.I.A., Schoolmeester, D., Dekker, M. and Jongen, W.M.F. (2003), “Exploring the use ofconsumer collages in product design”, Trends in Food Science and Technology, Vol. 14No. 1, pp. 17-31.Costa, A.I.A., Schoolmeester, D., Dekker, M. and Jongen, W.M.F. (2007), “To cook or not to cook:a means-end study of motives for choice of meal solutions”, Food Quality and Preference,Vol. 18 No. 1, pp. 77-88.De Ferran, F. and Grunert, K.G. (2007), “French fair trade coffee buyers’ purchasing motives: anexploratory study using means-end chains analysis”, Food Quality and Preference, Vol. 18No. 2, pp. 218-29.Deliza, R., Rosenthal, A., Abadio, F.B.D., Silva, C.H.O. and Castillo, C. (2005), “Application ofhigh-pressure technology in the fruit juice processing: benefits perceived by consumers”,Journal of Food Engineering, Vol. 67 Nos 1/2, pp. 241-6.Fotopoulos, C., Krystallis, A. and Ness, M. (2003), “Wine produced by organic grapes in Greece:using means-end chains analysis to reveal organic buyers’ purchasing motives incomparison to the non-buyers”, Food Quality and Preference, Vol. 14 No. 7, pp. 549-66.HPP and PEFfood products95
  • 12. Frewer, L.J., Howards, C. and Shepherd, R. (1996), “The influence of realistic product exposure onattitudes towards genetic engineering of food”, Food Quality and Preference, Vol. 7 No. 1,pp. 61-7.Frewer, L.J., Howard, C., Hedderley, D. and Shepherd, R. (1997), “Consumer attitudes towardsdifferent food-processing technologies used in cheese production: the influence onconsumer benefit”, Food Quality and Preference, Vol. 8 No. 4, pp. 271-80.Grunert, K.G. (2010), “Means-end chains – a means to which end?”, Marketing: Journal ofResearch and Management, Vol. 6 No. 1, pp. 30-8.Grunert, K.G. and Grunert, S.C. (1995), “Measuring subjective meaning structures by theladdering method: theoretical considerations and methodological problems”, InternationalJournal of Research in Marketing., Vol. 12 No. 3, pp. 209-25.Grunert, K.G., Grunert, S.C. and Sørensen, E. (1995), “Means-end chains and laddering: andinventory of problems and an agenda for research”, Working Paper No. 34, MAPP Center,Aarhus.Grunert, K.G., Baadsgaard, A., Larsen, H.H. and Madsen, T.K. (1996), Market Orientation in Foodand Agriculture, Kluwer Academic, Boston, MA.Grunert, K.G., La¨hteenma¨ki, L., Nielsen, N.A., Poulsen, J.B., Ueland, O. and A˚ stro¨m, A. (2001),“Consumer perception of food products involving genetic modification: results from aqualitative study in four Nordic countries”, Food Quality and Preference, Vol. 12 No. 8,pp. 527-42.Gutman, J. (1982), “A means-end chain model based on consumer categorisation processes”,Journal of Marketing, Vol. 46 No. 2, pp. 60-72.Jaeger, S.R. and Macfie, H.J.H. (2001), “The effect of advertising format and means-endinformation on consumer expectations for apples”, Food Quality and Preference, Vol. 12No. 3, pp. 189-205.Judica, F. and Perkins, W.S. (1992), “A means-end approach to the market for sparkling wines”,International Journal of Wine Marketing, Vol. 4 No. 1, pp. 10-20.Krystallis, A. and Ness, M. (2003), “Motivational and cognitive structures of Greek consumers inthe purchase of quality food products”, Journal of International Consumer Marketing,Vol. 16 No. 2, pp. 7-36.Lampila, P. and La¨hteenma¨ki, L. (2007), “Consumers’ attitudes towards high pressure freezing offood”, British Food Journal, Vol. 109 No. 10, pp. 838-51.Nielsen, N.A., Bech-Larsen, T. and Grunert, K.G. (1998), “Consumer purchase motives andproduct perceptions: a laddering study on vegetable oil in three countries”, Food Qualityand Preference, Vol. 9 No. 6, pp. 455-66.Nielsen, H.B., Sonne, A.M., Grunert, K.G., Banati, D., Polla´k-To´th, A., Lakner, Z., Veflen Olsen, N.,Pajk Zˇontar, T. and Peterman, M. (2009), “Consumer perception of the use of high-pressureprocessing and pulsed electric field technologies in food production”, Appetite, Vol. 52No. 1, pp. 115-26.Olson, J.C. and Reynolds, T.J. (2001), “The means-end approach to understanding consumerdecision making”, in Olson, J.C. and Reynolds, T.J. (Eds), Understanding ConsumerDecision Making: The Means-end Approach to Marketing and Advertising Strategy,Erlbaum, Mahwah, NJ, pp. 3-20.Reynolds, T.J. and Gutman, J. (1988), “Laddering theory, method, analysis and interpretation”,Journal of Advertising Research, Vol. 28 No. 3, pp. 11-31.Reynolds, T.J., Gutman, J. and Fiedler, J.A. (1985), “Understanding consumers’ cognitivestructures: the relationship of levels of abstraction to judgments of psychological distanceBFJ114,196
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  • 14. AppendixHPPjuicePEFjuicePasteurizedjuicefromconcentratePasteurizedjuiceNFCEnergy(100ml)47.2kcal(220kJ)47.2kcal(220kJ)47.2kcal(220kJ)47.2kcal(220kJ)Protein,0.1g,0.1g,0.1g,0.1gCarbohydrate11.31g11.31g11.31g11.31gThereofsugar11.11g11.11g11.11g11.11gFat,0.1g,0.1g,0.1g,0.1gFibre0.3g0,3g0,3g0,3gSodium2mg2mg2mg2mgVitaminC48mg80percentADT*47mg78percentADT*35mg58percentADT*45mg75*RDApercentShelflifeFiveweeksFiveweeks12monthsFiveweeksFacts100percentapplejuice–notfromconcentratePreservedwithhigh-pressuretreatmentShakewellbeforeopeningKeepproductrefrigerated:0-48C,Afteropeningconsumewithinthreetofourdays100percentapplejuice–notfromconcentratePreservedwithpulsedelectricfieldtreatmentShakewellbeforeopeningKeepproductrefrigerated:0-48CAfteropeningconsumewithinthreetofourdays100percentapplejuice–madefromappleJuiceconcentratePasteurizedShakewellbeforeopeningAfteropeningkeepproductrefrigeratedandconsumewithinthreetofourdays100percentapplejuice–notfromconcentratePasteurizedShakewellbeforeopeningKeepproductrefrigerated:0-48CAfteropeningconsumewithinthreetofourdaysAdditionalinformationHighPressureProcessing(HPP)isamethodofprocessingwhereafoodissubjectedtoelevatedpressure(uptoapproximately800MPa).Thistechnologypreservesfruitjuicesinawaythatthetaste,smell,colourandthehealthyingredientslikevitaminsaremaintained.HPPtechnologygivesfoodalong-lastingfreshness.HPPisusinglessenergyandwaterPulsedElectricFieldtreatment(PEF)isamildprocessingtechnology,whichusesshortburstsofelectricitytopreservefood.Themethodoperatesatroomtemperature,sothetasteandseveralhealthyheat-sensitivevitaminsarebettermaintainedinthejuices.PEFisenvironmentallyfriendlymethodasitsavestheenergyofheatingupandcoolingdownfoodproductsThejuiceismadefromaconcentrate.Directlyafterharvesting,thefreshfruitsarepressedandthejuiceisconcentrated.Beforebottlingjuice,thesameamountofwaterthatwasexcludedduringtheconcentrateprocessisaddedandtheproductwaspasteurised(quickwarmingandrefrigeration)Thejuiceispasteurized.Pasteurizationisamildheattreatment.Thejuiceisnotmadefromconcentrate,whichensuresahighqualityproductTable AI.Information provided onthe product labelsBFJ114,198
  • 15. Figure A1.HPP juice – all countriesHPP and PEFfood products99
  • 16. Figure A2.HPP juice – NorthEuropean respondentsBFJ114,1100
  • 17. Figure A3.HPP juice – EastEuropean respondentsHPP and PEFfood products101
  • 18. Figure A4.PEF – all countriesBFJ114,1102
  • 19. Figure A5.PEF juice – NorthEuropean respondentsHPP and PEFfood products103
  • 20. Figure A6.PEF juice – EastEuropean respondentsBFJ114,1104
  • 21. Figure A7.Pasteurized juice – allcountriesHPP and PEFfood products105
  • 22. Figure A8.Pasteurized juice – EastEuropean respondentsBFJ114,1106
  • 23. About the authorsAnne-Mette Sonne is an Assistant Professor at MAPP – Centre for research on customerrelations in the food sector, Aarhus School of Business, Aarhus University. She received her PhDfrom the Aarhus School of Business in 2007 and does research in food marketing. Anne-MetteSonne is the corresponding author and can be contacted at: aso@asb.dkKlaus G. Grunert is a Professor at Aarhus University in Denmark and Director of MAPP.Nina Veflen Olsen is a Researcher at Nofima in Norway.Britt-Signe Granli is a Research Assistant at Nofima in Norway.Erzse´bet Szabo´ is a Researcher at CFRI in Hungary.Dia´na Ba´na´ti is a Professor and the Director of CFRI in Hungary.Figure A9.Pasteurized juice – NorthEuropean respondentsHPP and PEFfood products107To purchase reprints of this article please e-mail: reprints@emeraldinsight.comOr visit our web site for further details: www.emeraldinsight.com/reprints