June 26, 2014

Food Fears: Increasing Familiarity Is The Best Way To Avoid Ingredient-Based Food Fear

[ Read the Article: Best Way To Avoid Ingredient-Based Food Fear Is To Increase Familiarity ]

We have all seen the headlines “New health concerns about Ingredient X.” Even though the actual risk to consumers is often not specified, these types of warnings tend to perpetuate ingredient-based food fears that cause consumers to steer clear of foods that contain ingredient x without actually knowing the facts. While many fears are based on actual health risk and are therefore merited, others are based on misinformation and can cause damage to food manufacturers, farmers and potentially even the consumers they are meant to protect. Cornell Food and Brand Lab researchers found that there are common characteristics among individuals more inclined to have food fears and that there are some effective ways to reduce unmerited ingredient bias among consumers. Lead author Brian Wansink states, “Inaccurate and negative evaluations of an ingredient can be offset through increased familiarity with the ingredient including its history, background and general use.”

Credit: Brian Wansink / Cornell University Food and Brand Lab

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