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Article

Consumer Distrust about E-numbers: A Qualitative Study among Food Experts

Department of Food, HAS University of Applied Sciences, Onderwijsboulevard 221, 5223 DE’s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands
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Foods 2019, 8(5), 178; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods8050178
Received: 15 April 2019 / Revised: 19 May 2019 / Accepted: 22 May 2019 / Published: 27 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Sensory and Consumer Sciences)
Food additives (E-numbers) are allowed in foods, but many consumers have a negative perception of them. The objective was to study the opinion of food experts about the causes and ways to reduce consumer distrust about E-numbers. Thirteen food experts from universities, research institutes, the government, food industry organisations, media, a nutrition information organisation, a consumer association and two other non-governmental organisations (NGOs) were interviewed with a semi-structured topic list, based on a model of risk perception. Interviews were transcribed, coded by an open-coding approach and analysed. Results indicated that, according to food experts, consumer distrust of E-numbers arose from negative communication by traditional media, social media and books. Food experts suggested that the information sources and the reliability of E-number information are important for consumers. Food experts also suggested reducing consumer distrust by avoiding negative label claims and making collective agreements with all parties about honest and transparent communication. According to interviewed food experts, food companies need to explain clearly and honestly why they use E-numbers in food. A nutrition information organisation and the government were often mentioned as appropriate parties to undertake action. The interviews suggested that consumers had no confidence in the food industry. View Full-Text
Keywords: E-numbers; food additives; consumer distrust; food experts; healthy product innovation; communication media E-numbers; food additives; consumer distrust; food experts; healthy product innovation; communication media
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MDPI and ACS Style

van Gunst, A.; Roodenburg, A.J.C. Consumer Distrust about E-numbers: A Qualitative Study among Food Experts. Foods 2019, 8, 178. https://doi.org/10.3390/foods8050178

AMA Style

van Gunst A, Roodenburg AJC. Consumer Distrust about E-numbers: A Qualitative Study among Food Experts. Foods. 2019; 8(5):178. https://doi.org/10.3390/foods8050178

Chicago/Turabian Style

van Gunst, Annelies, and Annet J.C. Roodenburg. 2019. "Consumer Distrust about E-numbers: A Qualitative Study among Food Experts" Foods 8, no. 5: 178. https://doi.org/10.3390/foods8050178

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