Tongkat Ali, Kacip Fatimah, and Ginseng: Functional Food Consumption Intention among Malaysian Eldery

Flaviana Ivy Febian, Sharifah Nurafizah Syed Annuar
Faculty of Business and Management, Universiti Teknologi MARA


Recent studies have reported that Malaysia is the fattest country in Asia in the past 30 years. Nearly 25% of adults in the country has been diagnosed with fatty liver, whereas an individual is most likely to have the same issue as they get older. Furthermore, a research in 2015 demonstrated that only one out of 10 Malaysian adults of older age was healthy, which is typical due to poor lifestyle and diet. For a long time, many believe in the ability of functional foods to cure diseases and provide health benefits on top of basic nutrition. The proponents of such foods are assumed to strengthen one’s health and help in reducing the risk of non-communicable diseases, such as hypertension, diabetes, and asthma. They generally contain components of bio-active or enhanced nutrients, which are stable and capable of providing immunity. Therefore, this paper aimed to investigate the intention to consume functional food among the Malaysian elderly population. Perceived susceptibility, perceived barriers, and perceived benefits were thus tested as the independent variables, whereby a mall intercept study was conducted. After interviewing 250 older people throughout four major cities in Malaysia, SPSS 24 and Smart PLS 3.0 were utilised to analyse the collected data. The results showed that perceived barriers and perceived benefits yielded positive relationships with the intention to consume towards functional foods among the target population. Meanwhile, perceived susceptibility was found to have a negative relationship towards the intention to consume. Accordingly, the present work highlights the factors determining the intention to consume functional foods among elderly people; an understanding of these factors will help food marketers in product development and promotions. In addition, relevant agencies can benefit from the research by designing proper nutrition education and campaigns.

Keywords: Intention to consume, Functional food, Malaysia, Older consumers, PLS-SEM