Ingredient-Based Food Fears and Avoidance: Antecedents and Antidotes
Wansink, Brian, Aner Tal, and Adam Brumberg (2014), “Ingredient-based Food Fears and Avoidance: Antecedents and Antidotes,” Food Quality and Preference, 38: 40-48.
40 Pages Posted: 21 May 2014 Last revised: 29 Apr 2017
Date Written: May 20, 2014
This study investigates food fears that are ingredient-based, focusing on the case of high-fructose corn syrup. The results of a national phone survey of 1,008 U.S. mothers offer five preliminary sets of observations: First, consumers with a fear of a specific ingredient – such as high-fructose corn syrup – may exaggerate and overweigh perceived risks. Second, such consumers may often receive more information from the internet than from television. Third, they may be partly influenced by their reference group. Fourth, ingredients associated with less healthy foods mainly hurt evaluation of foods perceived as relatively healthy. Fifth, food fears may be offset when an ingredient’s history, background, and general usage are effectively communicated. These findings suggest new insights for understanding how public health, industry, and consumer groups can more effectively target and address ingredient fears.
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