Given the growing market for health-enhancing or functional foods in Iran, the consumption rate is low. Identifying and understanding the causes is key for future decisions and interventions in the market. So, the present study was designed to provide this knowledge in Iran. The study was conducted in Tehran, the capital of Iran, between May and September 2014. In total, 105 people participated in this qualitative research, including 40 production/supply/health authority stakeholders and 65 consumer stakeholders (44 housewives and 21 employed women). The sampling strategy was the purposive method with maximum diversity, and snowball sampling was used to identify key stakeholders. The social marketing framework was used for analyzing the participants’ views and experiences. To collect data, semi-structured focus group discussions and in-depth interviews were conducted. Data collection and content analysis were performed simultaneously, using MAXQDA® software. Categorization of the findings based on social marketing mix showed that the most important barriers to the consumption of functional dairy products were undesirable sensory and non-sensory characteristics, lack of physical and economic access to the product, the existence of product competitors in the market and inappropriate promotion strategies. Furthermore, personal barriers identified as a new dimension and included lack of knowledge about the product and its benefits, a negative attitude toward the product and personal taste and preference. Understanding these barriers might contribute to design and implement effective and appropriate interventions to increase the consumption of these products among consumers.

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