Last modified at 2/2/2021 3:18 PM by Maren Johnson
Food neophobia is a naturally occurring reaction in humans that
protect individuals from the risk of being poisoned by consuming
potentially harmful foods. It accounts for a person’s reluctance to
consume either new or unusual foods, based on one’s culture and current
diet (Rozin, 1997; Stallberg-white&Pliner;, 1999). Individuals may
perceive and expect how an acceptable food should look and smell. As a
consequence, an unfamiliar food that does not fall into one’s acceptable
category will be rejected (Dovey et al., 2008). However, food neophobia
may affects food choice and limits overall dietary variety especially
in children (Pliner&Melo;, 1996; Falciglia et al., 2000; Skinner et
Factor effecting food neophobia
Food neophobia occurs in all type of consumers. The level of food
neophobic response varies among individuals. The level of Food neophobia
for each individual is affected by cultural, gender, age, education,
social, economics, and urbanization (Tourila et al., 2001; Flight et
al., 2003; Olabi et al., 2009).
Type of Food neophobia
Three types of consumers can be classified according to behavior of
novel food rejection. These groups are: neophilic, neutral, and
neophobic consumers. Neophilic consumers tend to accept unfamiliar
foods. In contrast, neophobic consumers tend to reject unfamiliar foods.
One way of determining which group a person is classified in uses the
Food Neophobia Scale (FNS) developed by Pliner
and Hobden (1992). That questionnaire measures one’s
agreement/disagreement on 10 statements about novel foods or eating
situations on a 7-point bipolar scale (1=strongly disagree to 7=
Type of Novel Food
Tuorila (2001) classified novel foods into five categories. The
types of novel food are: (1) functional foods or medicinal food, the
foods that claimed to promote health and immunity; (2) genetically
modified foods, foods that are produced using gene technology; (3)
nutritionally modified foods, foods that have better nutritional
benefits than conventional foods; (4) organic foods, the foods are
produced or farmed in traditional conditions, and (5) ethnic foods that
are specifically familiar to one culture but unfamiliar to others.
Increasing Willingness to try novel food and Food neophobia reduction
An individual’s expectations toward food products have found to play
a critical role in consumers’ motivation to try novel foods (Tuorila et
al., 1994; Tuorila et al, 1998; Deliza&MacFie;, 1996;
Jaeger&MacFie;, 2001; Hurling&Shepherd;, 2003). Consumers’
willingness to try novel food can be increased by providing positive
experiences such as giving descriptive sensory (visual, odor, and taste
exposures) and nutritional information. Information seems to be helpful
to increase willingness to try novel foods and reduce food neophobia
(Pelchat & Pliner, 1995; McFarlane & Pliner, 1997; de Graaf et
al., 2005). Neophobia also can impact scores given to new foods in
sensory acceptance tests (Henriques et al., 2008; King et al., 2008).
Often “new” products receive lower scores than more familiar products
because of the impact of neophobia. Ideas such as providing information
on the product, serving new foods in the context of how they might be
used, and testing the new product monadically (in contrast to testing
within a set of other products) may help overcome the “penalty” often
associated with neophobia (Tourila et al., 1995; Wansink et al., 2005,
Deliz&MacFie;), but many of those idea remain undertested.
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