Published in Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Vol. 30 No. 2 (August 2005).


A two-stage decision model is developed to assess the effect of perceived soy health benefits on consumers' decisions with respect to soy food. The first stage captures whether or not to consume soy food, while the second stage reflects how often to consume. A conceptual/analytical framework is also employed, combining Lancaster's characteristics model and Fishbein's multi-attribute model. Results show that perceived soy health benefits significantly influence both decision stages. Further, consumers' negative perceptions regarding soy (unappetizing taste and inconvenience) have a substantially greater impact on soy consumption behavior than their perceptions about soy health benefits. This finding carries significant implications for the soy industry. Additionally, this health benefit perception mediates the effect of general health-related factors such as knowledge, motivation, and awareness on soy consumption behavior. Our results also underscore the importance of current FDA-regulated health claims in stimulating consumer demand for soy foods.