Correcting misperceptions about stigmatized ingredients: MSG

Luke Greenacre, Sarah Patrick, Rongbin Yang, Victoria Jaeger, James Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Stigmatized ingredients present a problem for manufacturers, as fears surrounding foods limit the range of products the public will accept. Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is a commonly stigmatized ingredient, despite it being consistently deemed safe for human consumption by experts. This study examined three strategies for correcting the stigmatization of MSG. Using three treatments and a control condition, the study compares the effectiveness of different corrective communication strategies using a test-retest design. Results from 1308 participants presents strong evidence that providing factual information in the form of a rational appeal is a highly effective strategy for increasing the willingness and likelihood of consuming MSG. The findings demonstrate that an endorsement from a celebrity (in this research Chef Heston Blumenthal) as a form of emotional appeal is less effective at improving such perceptions. The study also tests for a minority 'backlash' effect among some participants, whose misperceptions may strengthen in the face of disconfirming evidence. The implications for improved food labeling and consumer wellbeing are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-98
Number of pages6
JournalFood Quality and Preference
Volume48
Issue numberPart A
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Corrective communication
  • Likelihood
  • Misperception
  • MSG
  • Stigmatized ingredient
  • Willingness

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