A Poison By Any Other Name: Aversion to Functional Food Chemicals

Aner Tal, Cornell University, USA
Brian Wansink, Cornell University, USA
In recent years, a growing consumer movement has drifted away from additive-addled foods and towards organic foods. Consumers may overgeneralize suspicions of artificial foods to any and all chemicals. Further, negative effects of chemical ingredients may generalize to unrelated product attributes, such as taste. The current research explores this by demonstrating consumers rate foods containing chemical-sounding (vs. descriptive) additives as less tasty. Reduced evaluations are demonstrated in study 1. Study 2 shows evaluations are hurt even when the function of the chemical is explained. A suggested third study will demonstrate the effects expand to actual taste-experience due to top-down processing.
[ to cite ]:
Aner Tal and Brian Wansink (2011) ,"A Poison By Any Other Name: Aversion to Functional Food Chemicals ", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 39, eds. Rohini Ahluwalia, Tanya L. Chartrand, and Rebecca K. Ratner, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 888-889.