Food neophobia is indicated as 1 of the most critical factors affecting reduced preferences for, and lower intakes of fruits and vegetables.
This study aimed to explore whether food neophobia contributes to preference, acceptance and perceived daily intake of fruits and vegetables among Korean young adults in their 20s.
Study Design, Setting, Participants
An on-line survey was conducted from February 18-24, 2020 to Korean young adults (male: 570, female: 707) in their 20s. A survey questionnaire was developed to include the food neophobia scale and to assess respondents’ preference, acceptance, and perceived daily intake of fruits and vegetables in diversity and amount. Other dietary habits related to taste preferences and perceived healthiness were also measured.
Respondents were divided into 3 groups according to food neophobia score distribution (low, middle or high). The distributive differences among the 3 groups were analyzed using a chi-squared test according to respondents’ general characteristics (gender, BMI, education level. and income level). Significant differences in vegetable and fruit consumption (ie, preference, acceptance, and perceived daily intake) were measured across the food neophobia groups by using ANOVA. All statistical analyses were performed using the SPSS program at the significance level of 0.05.
The results showed that females were more likely to be food neophobic than males. Higher level of food neophobia was significantly associated with lower preference, acceptance, and perceived daily intake of fruits and vegetables both in diversity and amount. Young adults with higher level of food neophobia were more likely to prefer salty foods, but less likely to perceive themselves to be healthy.
The results suggest that food neophobia may negatively influence fruit and vegetable consumption among Korean young adults.