Nutr Res Pract.  2021 Jun;15(3):346-354. 10.4162/nrp.2021.15.3.346.

Trends in Korean parents' perceptions on food additives during the period 2014–2018

  • 1Department of Nutrition Education, Graduate School of Education, Myongji University, Seoul 03674, Korea
  • 2Division of Food and Nutrition in Human Ecology, Korea National Open University, Seoul 03087, Korea
  • 3Department of Science & Technology Education for Life, Seoul National University of Education, Seoul 06639, Korea


While the use of food additives in food processing has become a common practice worldwide, consumers' worry about potential hazards has not diminished. The purpose of this study was to identify trends in South Korean parents' perceptions about food additives by analyzing the results of surveys conducted from 2014 to 2018.
We conducted an off-line survey in Korea annually between 2014 and 2018 on perceptions about food additives. The numbers of survey respondents in each year from 2014 to 2018 were 381, 426, 301, 519, and 369, respectively. Our consumer respondents were parents of elementary-school-aged children.
The ratios of respondents perceiving “food safety” as the most important factor in purchasing processed foods and “food additives” as the biggest threat to food safety have decreased over the years. However, most consumers still have negative perceptions of food additives. Additionally, among consumers lower confidence in or trust of the Korean government continued throughout the study period and appeared to be the main problem that needs to be overcome.
This study found that Korean parents are still troubled by food additives. Consumers' confidence in the government needs to be increased through public communications. More multifaceted educational programs communicating scientific knowledge of food additives are needed in order to correct consumers' misperceptions.


Food additives; Korea; parents; risk communication


  • Fig. 1 Trends on the most important factor when purchasing food during the period 2014–2018.

  • Fig. 2 Trends on food safety threatening factors during the period 2014–2018.1)2018 multiple response and others: 7.3%.

  • Fig. 3 The effect of food additives intake on person's health during the period 2014–2018.

  • Fig. 4 Trends on the degree of awareness about food additives during the period 2014–2018.

  • Fig. 5 Trends on the food additive of greatest interest during the period 2014–2018.

  • Fig. 6 Trends on confidence in information providers on food additives during the period 2014–2018.NGO, non-government organization.


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