Chapter 10: Understanding Preference Formation of Functional Food Among Malaysian Muslims
Siti Hasnah Hassan INTRODUCTION Growing awareness concerning health and wellness among consumers has significantly changed their preferences and attitudes towards foods for specific use. The shift to better lifestyles and diets among consumers has created demand for food products that work as preventive measures against lifestyle related diseases and provide health benefits. This type of food is known as functional food. Functional food is believed to offer diverse health benefits beyond basic nutrition (Hilliam, 1996). As individuals become more interested in healthier lifestyles, more functional food brands appear on the market and consumers must select among them. Food consumption is part of consumer identity, and the process of consumption involves tradition, social commitment, and health (Fischler, 1988; Ikeda, 1999; Lawrence and Germov, 1999). For centuries, it has been believed that foods and herbs have healthgiving and curative properties (Sheehy and Morrissey, 1998). There is an old Chinese proverb saying that foods and medicine are isogenic (Arai, 2002). Both are equally important for preventing and treating disease as they come from the same sources; have the same uses; and are based on the same theories (Weng and Chen, 1996). Besides giving basic nutrition, some foods are believed to have a therapeutic effect on human health, which includes prolonging a healthy and active life, boosting physical and mental ability and lowering long-term health care expenses (Ahmad, 1996; Childs and Poryzees, 1997; Diplock et al., 1999; Hassan, 2008; Lawrence and Germov, 1999; Milner, 1999). Over the past few years, the functional food market...
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