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Preprints, Working Papers, ... Year : 2020

Perceptions of spirulina from French consumers of organic products

Chloé Thomas
Gaelle Pantin-Sohier
Pierre Picouet
Isabelle Maître
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In recent years the microalga spirulina has attracted attention due to its high nutritional value and ability to be cultivated with little impact on the environment. It could be developed in agri-food industries, but a significant obstacle to its development is a lack of consumer knowledge. Is spirulina perceived as a food? What images does it convey? Previous research has evaluated the production parameters of spirulina and its medicinal effects, but little is known about consumers' views of spirulina and the widespread acceptability of this product. Here, representations and perceptions of spirulina by consumers of organic foods were explored. Four focus groups provided insights from both consumers and non-consumers of spirulina, and the discussions were analyzed using thematic and lexical analyses. Our results are presented in the context of well-known behavioral theories in order to explain the patterns of representation and consumption that we observed. Overall, this study highlighted distinct differences in consumers' knowledge and product experience. Two general representations of spirulina were prevalent, those of a dietary supplement and of a seaweed, with the latter image presenting an obstacle to its adoption because of its discordance with traditional French cuisine. The motives for and obstacles to consuming spirulina helped subjects identify tradeoffs; the main tradeoff reported was between its nutritional/health benefits and its distasteful sensory properties. The subjects in this study also expressed conflicting views about spirulina's environmental impacts. Based on our results, we propose strategies to increase the potential use of spirulina as a food by French consumers.
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hal-02615769 , version 1 (23-05-2020)


  • HAL Id : hal-02615769 , version 1


Chloé Thomas, Ronan Symoneaux, Gaelle Pantin-Sohier, Pierre Picouet, Isabelle Maître. Perceptions of spirulina from French consumers of organic products. 2020. ⟨hal-02615769⟩
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