Agriculturae Conspectus Scientificus, Vol 68, No 3 (2003)

Analysis of Consumers´ Attitudes Towards Food Additives Using Focus Group Survey


Pages: 193-196


Food additives are getting more and more importance among the consumers´ food safety concerns. In this research attitudes towards food additives were analyzed in three focus groups: common consumers, doctors and food industry experts by qualitative market research methods. It was observed that most consumers knew very little about food additives. While recognizing their technological importance, they are afraid of their health impairing effects. However, this fear is mostly theoretic; other quality characteristics and the price play a much more significant role when choosing foods. Doctors are more familiar with the chemical nature and health effects of food additives, but their shopping habits are mainly the same as the common consumers´. Through their job food industry experts get in closer relationship with food additives, therefore they generally have detailed knowledge of their technological and health functions as well. In their consumer decision process the food additive content of products is a more important factor than in the other groups. It was concluded that, with respect to the consumers´ requirements, food and health authorities should pay much more attention to providing authentic information to the public, because it is the only way to prevent developing the general fear of food additives. This project should include education involving the media and doctors, and additionally, making E-numbers list be available to the customers to help the easy identification of food additives.


food additives; consumers; attitude; qualitative market research; focus groups

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