Consumers' knowledge and safety perceptions of food additives: Evaluation on the effectiveness of transmitting information on preservatives

Soon Mi Shim, Sun Hee Seo, Youngja Lee, Gui Im Moon, Min Shik Kim, Ju Hee Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

177 Scopus citations


In this study, consumer awareness and safety perceptions of food additives were identified via survey questionnaire. A total of 430 consumers living in Seoul, Korea participated. The results showed that the respondents were very concerned about preservatives, colorants, and artificial sweeteners in foods. More than two thirds expressed that information on food additives was insufficient. They attributed this lack of information to difficulties understanding the subject of food additives and insufficient education and public relations. Almost half of the respondents chose leaflets and pamphlets as preferable mediums of information transmission.This study also evaluated the impacts of information transmission (e.g., leaflet and pamphlet) on consumers' knowledge, behavior, and safety perceptions of preservatives using matched pre- and post-surveys. Overall, knowledge scores were improved from 67.3% to 91.9% before and after the campaign, respectively. Safety perception scores significantly increased showing a 60% difference between the pre- and post-tests. The participants indicated that leaflets and posters were useful to understand both the types and functions of preservatives. The results of the pilot pre- and post-surveys implied that safety perceptions of food additives were affected by consumer awareness and knowledge. This study suggests that communication programs familiarizing consumers with various types of food additives must be developed in order to increase safety perceptions and to respond to consumers' information needs on food additives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1054-1060
Number of pages7
JournalFood Control
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by a grant ( 09082KFDA116 ) from Korea Food & Drug Administration in 2009 .


  • Consumer
  • Food additives
  • Information transmission
  • Leaflet and poster
  • Preservatives
  • Safety perception


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