An economic analysis of offsetting behaviour in health improvements: An application to functional dairy products

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Lewis, Amanda Louise
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University of Guelph

This thesis reports the results of a study investigating the impact of functional food consumption on broader dietary choices. A theoretical framework of individual response to regulatory protection is adapted to investigate potential offsetting behaviour in the context of averting behaviours undertaken to improve health and/or reduce the risk of illness such as functional food consumption. Data was collected through two online surveys using a representative consumer panel in Guelph, Ontario, Canada. Estimation of probit models for two types of offsetting behaviour namely increased overall consumption of a functional food carrier and reduced propensity to make health dietary choices suggest that the addition of a functional ingredient to a food may lead to increased overall consumption of that food; however the probability of that occurrence is low. Empirical results do not support that consumption of a functional food reduces the propensity to make healthy dietary choices.

functional food consumption, dietary choices, regulatory protection, averting behaviours, health, risk of illness, offsetting behaviour, healthy dietary choices