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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2015

Changing consumer intake of potato, a focus group study

Fernqvist, Fredrik; Spendrup, Sara; Ekelund Axelson, Lena


Purpose - While potato consumption in Europe and North America declines, other carbohydrate sources increase. The purpose of this paper is to explore factors affecting consumers' changing consumption behaviour as regards fresh potato.Design/methodology/approach - Six semi-structured focus group interviews were conducted. Thematic analysis was made by means of a theory-driven approach.Findings - Seven categories of factors affecting consumer choice of fresh potato were found and discussed: first, convenience and preparation-related factors; second, health; third, information and packaging; fourth, sensory appeal; fifth, monetary considerations; sixth, familiarity and habit; and seventh, sustainability and ethics. Convenience appears to be the strongest explanation to changing food behaviour.Research limitations/implications - The research contributes to present knowledge regarding food choice and consumers' carbohydrate intake. Findings of previous research is both validated and questioned. Methodological limitations are discussed, suggesting complementary quantitative approaches to the findings based on qualitative research.Practical implications - The findings add to knowledge of consumer behaviour and food choice. The findings may suggest focus areas in strategic marketing research, facilitating strategic decisions in response to falling consumption of fresh potatoes due to changing consumer attitudes and behaviour.Originality/value - By using a theory-driven approach in a thematic analysis, a broad set of interview data from six focus group interviews has been summarised and categorised. The methodology shows an effective way to treat a large amount of qualitative data and condense it to straightforward themes.


Consumer behaviour; Consumption; Thematic analysis; Carbohydrates; Focus group; Potato

Published in

British Food Journal
2015, Volume: 117, number: 1, pages: 210-221