This study investigates consumer attitude and purchase intention towards processed meat products with added natural compounds and a reduced level of nitrite. The rationale for such innovation relates to nitrite's negative health image as a chemical additive among consumers, versus the perception of compounds from fruits and vegetables as being natural and healthy. Cross-sectional data were collected through online questionnaires on knowledge about, interest in, attitude and intentions towards such new type of processed meat products in Belgium, The Netherlands, Italy and Germany (n = 2057). Consumers generally had limited knowledge about nitrite being added to meat products. Yet, they expressed favourable attitudes and purchase intentions towards the new processed meat products. Purchase intention associated positively with: attitude; preference for natural over chemical additives; perceived harmfulness of chemical additives; risk importance; domain specific innovativeness; awareness of nitrite added; education; general health interest; and processed meat consumption frequency. Consumers from Italy and Germany had a lower level of purchase intention compared to Belgium. Four consumer segments were identified based on attitude and purchase intention: 'enthusiasts' (393% of the sample), 'accepters' (11.9%), 'half-hearted' (423%) and 'uninterested' (6.6%). This study provides valuable insight for further product development and effective tailoring of marketing communication strategies of innovative processed meat products.
- Functional foods
- Processed meat products