Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to investigate a healthy snacking and on-the-go eating concept, “Healthy Snack Machine” (HSM) that produces freshly made food and enables customization of the product at site of purchase and consumption.
Design/methodology/approach: The study applied qualitative and quantitative consumer research methods and used iterative co-creation approach, meaning that the HSM concept was developed by consumer input during different phases. Specifically, the research included three qualitative methods, web platform discussion (n=109), a HSM mock-up study (n=30) and testing a prototype of the HSM user interface (n=50), as well as a quantitative study (n=215).
Findings: Generally, the consumers evaluated the HMS concept positively. The results indicated that the time of the day, personal goals and preferences affected food choice and product customization in HSM. Consumers preferred HSM products that were healthy, satiating and suitable for on-the-go eating. They also felt that HSM would save time, and that the possibility to customize the food gives them additional value. The results also pointed out the importance of privacy and security issues in the HSM concept.
Practical implications: The results indicated that consumers are in favor of a new delivery concept that can help them to consume healthy food and enable customization of the product. This encourages to proof the findings in consumer tests with a real food-producing prototype machine.
Originality/value: The work gives original insight on consumer preferences for healthy snacking and snack customization enabled by digital technologies and consecutive co-creation methodologies.