A Survey on the Consumer Attitude Toward Health Food in Korea (II) -Consumer Perception on Health Foods-

건강식품에 대한 소비자 인식 연구 (II) -건강식품에 관한 소비자 의식구조-

  • Lee, Eun-Joo (Center for Advanced Food Science and Technology(CAFST), The Graduate school of Biotechnology, Korea University) ;
  • Ro, Seung-Ok (Department of Nursing, ShinHeung College) ;
  • Lee, Cherl-Ho (Center for Advanced Food Science and Technology(CAFST), The Graduate school of Biotechnology, Korea University)
  • 이은주 (고려대학교 생명공학원 식품가공핵심기술연구센터) ;
  • 노승옥 (신흥전문대학 간호과) ;
  • 이철호 (고려대학교 생명공학원 식품가공핵심기술연구센터)
  • Published : 1996.10.30


The consumer perception on health and food habit, the experience of health food use and the discrimination between health food and drug of Korean consumer were surveyed by using a questionnaire containing 20 items in order to obtain the basic data for the assessment of the benefit and risk of health foods in Korea. A total of 1,000 people over 20 years of age living in Seoul and the vicinities were interviewed and asked to fill out the questionnaire during the period from the October 1995 to the February 1996. Among the 882 answers collected 23 was incomplete data, and 859 answers were used for the statistical analysis by using SAS program. The survey revealed a strong interest of the consumer on health food by showing that more than a half of the subjects (58.8%) had the experience of actual use of health food, and 68.2% believed the effectiveness. What the consumer expect most from health food was to have beneficial effect to maintain overall health condition (59.8%), and the most negative aspect of health food was the overstatement on the effectiveness by the producers (52.1%). The most important source of information for the purchase of health food was the suggestion of friends and relatives (30.6%). Among the health foods registered and regulated by the food law, royal jelly (22.7%), squalene (16.0%), refined fish oil (15.1%), lactic acid bacteria (10.6%) and aloe (8.8%) were relatively well aware. Although 84% of the subjects perceived that health food is different from drug or traditional medicine, the largest percentage of the subject selected ginseng as the most well known type of health food (22.7%) as well as the most well known drug (or traditional medicine) (41.7%). Ginseng was also chosen as the most frequently used health food (17.0%), and vitamin tablets the third (13.0%). The vague definition of health food and unambiguous discrimination of it from medicine by the consumers were problematic for the correct use and reasonable purchasing behavior. The clear definition and proper regulation on the manufacture and distribution of health food, more strict control of labelling and advertisement, and a wide consumer education on health food were recommended.