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Consumer Attitude Towards Food Additives – A Case Study
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1  Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka
Academic Editor: Catarina Simões


Food additives are natural or synthetic substances which are added to foods to improve the technological or sensory functions of a food product. Consumers should possess a better understanding of the application, functions, and safety aspects of the numerous food additives available. This study aimed to evaluate the attitude of Sri Lankan consumers towards food additives and to have a clear idea of their knowledge regarding food additives. A survey was conducted online, with a total of 504 respondents participating. The data collected from questionnaires were analyzed and interpreted using the Chi-square test of association at a significance level of 0.05. According to the results, only 16.70% of the selected respondents believed that the addition of food additives is essential while the majority rejected the application of additives. More than 46.00% of the respondents were ready to pay more for foods without additives while 76.79% of respondents had the attitude that food additives cause diseases and are unsafe. Approximately 40.00% of the respondents of all the groups believed food additives cause cancers and it was prominent in the 30-39 age group. Moreover, a greater proportion (19.60%) of respondents believed that food colorings are the most-unhealthy food additives followed by taste enhancers (15.10%). A significant correlation was found between the educational level and attitudes toward checking food labels, using food additives and being ready to pay more for foods without additives. Age, gender and level of education didn’t show any significant relationship between the attitude towards the use of Mono Sodium Glutamate (MSG), food colorings as well as food regulation, but the majority of the respondents rejected the use of MSG. The respondents had the attitude of checking food labels for additives, and it was distinct among the secondary (83.09%) and higher educated (79.93%) respondents. Therefore, the findings indicated a prevailing negative attitude among consumers towards food additives, underscoring the critical need for effective dissemination of accurate knowledge regarding food additives.

Keywords: Food additives; Attitudes, Sri Lanka; MSG; Colourings; Regulations