A Behavioral Assessment of College Students’ Knowledge, Awareness, and Consumption on Snack Foods That May Contain Probiotics

  •  Sarah A. Sorensen    
  •  Cheryl R. Rock    
  •  Dustin M. Moore    
  •  Rachel E. Blaine    
  •  Christine B. Costa    


With the increasing variety of snack foods containing probiotics infiltrating the market, it is important that consumers become more aware and knowledgeable about these products. The aim of the current study was to investigate potential consumers’ behavior by assessing knowledge about probiotics, awareness of snack foods containing probiotics, and frequently consumed snacks among student college departments within a university setting. Participants included 125 college students (n = 34 male, n = 91 female), all 18 years and older, and evaluated via a 19-item questionnaire using descriptive statistics, one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) and Gabriel’s post hoc test. Level of significance was set at p ≤ 0.05. There was a statistically significant difference in knowledge about probiotics among the student college departments, p = 0.012. Specifically, students in the College of Health and Human Services (CHHS) were statistically significantly more knowledgeable than those in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) college, p = 0.010. There was no statistically significant difference in awareness of snack foods containing probiotics, p = 0.262. On average, participants’ knowledge about probiotics was low (48.1%) and awareness of snack foods containing probiotics was very low (2.5%), though, a majority of participants (94.1%) were aware that yogurt may contain probiotics. Overall, these findings should guide food product developers and marketers to create products that are relevant and messages that enhance consumers’ knowledge and awareness to the existence of the probiotics in that product.

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