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Consumer familiarity with foods and the perception of risks and benefits

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Lynn Frewer

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Abstract

Differences in familiarity with food products may influence how information about the risks and benefits about foods is used in forming risk and benefit perceptions. In two experimental studies, the risk and benefit perceptions of student participants, for four foods (familiar or unfamiliar) were assessed. In experiment 1, participants had the option to voluntarily request information (N = 106). In experiment 2, participants were involuntarily exposed to varying amounts of risk and benefit information (N = 235). In the first experiment, risk and benefit perceptions for unfamiliar foods were the result of an ad hoc affect or attitude being formed from whatever information about a food was presented first. The second experiment confirmed these results. The asymmetry between risk and benefit perception can be understood in terms of prior attitude and primacy effects. The greater importance of risk information in the development of risk perception is shown, compared to the greater importance role of familiarity with foods for benefit perception. It is argued that risk and benefit perceptions associated with foods may be dependent on different psychological processes. Risk perception is more likely to be derived from deliberative information processing. Benefit perception is derived from heuristic information processing and personal experience.


Publication metadata

Author(s): Frewer LJ; Fischer A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Food Quality and Preference

Year: 2009

Volume: 20

Issue: 8

Pages: 576-585

ISSN (print): 0950-3293

ISSN (electronic): 1873-6343

Publisher: Pergamon

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.foodqual.2009.06.008

DOI: 10.1016/j.foodqual.2009.06.008


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