Overcoming barriers to consumer acceptance of 3D-printed foods in the food service sector

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Ross, Megan M.
Collins, Alan M.
McCarthy, Mary B.
Kelly, Alan L.
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Elsevier Ltd.
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The purpose of this study is to investigate the potential uptake and inhibitors of 3D-printed food applications in the food service market to provide market salient evidence to inform business investments. An online survey was designed and distributed to an adult Irish population and was completed by 1,045 participants. The collected data was analysed using Structural Equation Modelling to test a hypothesised model of willingness to try 3D-printed food applications. Results showed that perceived personal relevance of the technology is a strong positive determinant of willingness to try (Standardised β = 0.614***). Novel Food Technology Neophobia (NFTN) represents a barrier to willingness to try 3D-printed food applications as evident from its significant negative direct effect (Standardised β = -0.167***). NFTN is also found to have a depressing indirect effect when mediated through perceived personal relevance (Standardised β = -0.202***), while the importance consumers attach to naturalness is yet another barrier (Standardised β = 0.053*). Overall, considering its total effect, NFTN (Standardised β = -0.369***) presents the greatest barrier to willingness to try 3D printed foods. The role of trust in science by directly diminishing the effects of NFTN (Standardised β = -0.445***) and the importance of naturalness also emerges (Standardised –β = 0.137***). Consequently, this work has identified some of the major obstacles facing the technology in the forms of NFTN and the importance of naturalness but has pointed to possible resolutions in building continued support and trust in science, and a focus on designing and delivering both customisable consumer-focused food products and accompanying marketing strategies that communicate and emphasise the personal benefits that this novel food technology affords.
3D printing , Food service sector , Trust in science , Novel Food Technology , Neophobia , Perceived personal relevance , Consumer acceptance
Ross, M. M., Collins, A. M., McCarthy, M. B. and Kelly, A. L. (2022) 'Overcoming barriers to consumer acceptance of 3D-printed foods in the food service sector', Food Quality and Preference, 104615. doi: 10.1016/j.foodqual.2022.104615