Mohamad, Hajar, Miranda Mirosa, Phil Bremer, & Indrawati Oey (2018, August). Parental attitudes toward weaning practices and weaning foods for health in Malaysia. British Food Journal, 120(10), 2466-2482. (doi: 10.1108/BFJ-01-2018-0031) (Link: https://doi.org/10.1108/BFJ-01-2018-0031)

Abstract: Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to gain insight on parental attitudes towards weaning practices and weaning foods for health in Malaysia using Q-methodology. Design/methodology/approach: The study population was parents that had a child aged three years or less. A total of 47 parents were recruited to partake in a one-on-one activity which involved sorting 69 statements about weaning practices and weaning food products into a grid that was normally distributed ranging from “strongly disagree” to “strongly agree”. Sorting was immediately followed by a short interview to understand the reasons behind the placement of particular statements. Findings: Data analysis identified three statistically distinct participant attitudes towards weaning practices and foods for health that were then interpreted using the rich qualitative data from the post-sort interviews. The attitudes identified were “All Homemade and Natural”, “Commercial Convenience and Trust” and “Balance and Variety”. Originality/value: This study identified the dominant sets of attitudes held by Malaysian parents towards weaning practices and weaning foods for health using Q-methodology. To authors’ knowledge, this is the first paper focussing on weaning foods for health, specifically on functional weaning food. This new understanding of shared attitudes will allow product developers, marketers and health communicators to more effectively design their products and their marketing mix to ensure that these messages resonate well with the target audience who want to provide the best weaning foods possible for their children.

Hajar Mohamad <hajar.mohamad@postgrad.otago.ac.nz>, Miranda Mirosa <miranda.mirosa@otago.ac.nz>, Phil Bremer <phil.bremer@otago.ac.nz>, and Indrawati Oey <indrawati.oey@otago.ac.nz> are in the Department of Food Science, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.

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