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A Cultural Hedonic Framework for Increasing the Consumption of Unfamiliar Foods

Wansink, Brian, Steven T. Sonka, and Matthew M. Cheney (2002). A Cultural Hedonic Framework for Increasing the Consumption of Unfamiliar Foods: Soy Acceptance in Russia and Colombia. Review of Agricultural Economics, 24(2), 353–365. doi: 10.1111/1467-9353.00102

In order to integrate unfamiliar food products into a given culture the process must take into account the culture it is being introduced into. It is unwise to take a product, blindly introduce it into a culture, and expect it to do well. There are too many unknown cultural factors at work that would complicate the integration.

Instead, product integration needs to take into account the specific cultural consumption behavior that is influenced by cultural context and perception of food. To better understand these cultural influences, analysis was done on how an unfamiliar product of soy can be potentially integrated into two different markets, Russia and Colombia.

This research develops an exploratory framework for increasing consumption of a commodity taking into consideration cultural context and utilitarian/hedonic food perceptions that can be used as a template for unfamiliar food introductions around the world. The authors then apply the consumer acceptance–oriented framework for increasing soy consumption in the cases of Russia and Colombia.

Finally, insights related to distribution, message positioning, and marketing strategy that can be generated by the framework and will be helpful in determining what policy will work best for the integration of soy in the markets are discussed.

*The study was conducted at the University of Illinois, former location of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab.