The Public’s Understanding of Superfoods
The term “superfood” is linked to food that is beneficial to health. However, there is no legal or clear scientific definition, and little is known about individual perceptions of this food group. Therefore, an online survey was conducted (n = 1006 respondents) to assess the public’s understanding of superfoods in Germany, including (a) the conceptual understanding of the term “superfood”, (b) corresponding consumption behavior, and (c) the risk–benefit appraisal. In total, 70% of respondents were aware of the term “superfood”, and 33% reported consuming superfoods at least once a week. The term was mainly associated with positive food properties, such as “healthy” and “contains vitamins”. Health benefits were rated to be much higher than potential health risks. In addition, imported foods were more likely to be labelled as superfoods, compared to domestic equivalents. In further analyses, we found women, younger people, and organic buyers to have an even more positive impression. That is, specific parts of the population may be particularly attracted to superfood products. Therefore, target-group specific information campaigns can be a useful tool to increase the population’s awareness of the potential health risks of superfood consumption and to highlight the presence of equivalent “domestic superfoods” in Germany.