In general, dairy products are well regarded for their nutritional value. Consumer perception of dairy products is influenced by many interrelated factors but healthiness remains one of the key attributes and values for consumers. Furthermore, contemporary consumers increasingly seek out dairy products with additional health benefits and, therefore, it is essential to explore which attributes are important drivers of food choices and how producers can better respond to shifting consumer values and needs in each dairy product category. Therefore, the aims of the study were: (a) to identify consumer segments based on the importance they attached to selected attributes of dairy products, (b) to explore differences between the identified segments in their perceptions of health-related attributes of dairy products, (c) to determine if health-related aspects influenced consumers decisions to buy high-quality dairy products, and (d) to identify if consumers were open to novelties in dairy products. The data were collected within a CAPI (Computer Assisted Personal Interview) survey on a representative sample of 983 adult Polish consumers. The non-hierarchical K-means clustering method was used to identify four clusters of consumers, namely: Enthusiastic, Involved, Ultra-involved and Neutral. Enthusiastic consumers attach more importance to the influence of dairy products on immunity and are more willing to agree with the opinion that dairy products are a source of mineral nutrients as well as vitamins. Ultra-involved and Involved consumers pay less attention to some health aspects of dairy products compared to other clusters; however, the Ultra-involved are more quality-oriented than are the Involved. Neutral consumers are more open to accept changes on the dairy product market and are relatively more inclined to choose new dairy products. However, these consumers have scored lower on those aspects related to the healthiness of dairy products and, in order to target them effectively, it is essential to develop well-tailored communication strategies highlighting the health benefits of dairy products. These results relate to the Polish market and are important for the development of new dairy products and for targeting public nutrition as well as for directing marketing communication. The results may provide important insights for those who develop educational strategies and campaigns.
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