Department of Management

Issues surrounding consumer trust and acceptance of existing and emerging food processing technologies

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  • Gert W. Meijer, Nestle Res Ctr, Nestle SA, Ulster University
  • ,
  • Liisa Lähteenmäki
  • Richard H. Stadler, Nestle Res Ctr, Nestle SA
  • ,
  • Jochen Weiss, University of Hohenheim

The purpose of food processing today is to make food safer, more nutritious and tastier, and to increase storage life. Consumers have a lack of trust in the way food is produced, formulated and processed, particularly with possible contaminants or chemical residues from production. Food manufacturers are not seen as being highly trusted sources. This may partly result from manufacturers’ reluctance to share all information and to protect intellectual property via patents and thus maintain a competitive edge. There is a need to inform the consumer better about what operations the involved ingredients are subjected to and why. Various ways of food processing are reviewed. New food processing technologies face challenges when introduced and factors influencing consumers’ and other stakeholders’ acceptance should be part of decision-making process when adopting new technologies. Consumers’ perception of risks is not the same as the risk assessment made by experts. A few specific cases are being discussed to further highlight the multiplicity of factors that may contribute to the development of a certain consumer perception about a product or a class of products. This is also linked to the emergence of certain terminologies that are associated with an increasingly negative perception of the processing of foods. We recommend more transparency on food formulation and food processing to restore consumer trust, which enables to take the advantage of the benefits different processing methods offer. Food manufacturers must make an effort to let consumers know how their food is being processed within the walls of the factory and highlight the benefits vis-à-vis preparing foods in a domestic environment.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCritical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition
Pages (from-to)97-115
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 2021

    Research areas

  • acceptance, consumers, Food processing, trust

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