First Advisor

Wayne W. Wakeland

Term of Graduation

Summer 2008

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Systems Science


Systems Science




Food preferences, Nutrition -- Psychological aspects, Food -- Marketing



Physical Description

1 online resource (2, vii, 214 pages)


The present research used an integrative and multi-disciplinary approach to investigate the relations among food attitudes, food neophobia and acceptance of novel and familiar albacore tuna dishes for Japanese and U.S. consumers.

A pilot study selected seasonings and cooking methods that were familiar or novel to each culture, and identified the most relevant health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids (FA).

The main study employed a self-reported, web-based questionnaire where back-translation maximized the cross-cultural equivalency of US and Japanese versions. Scales of food neophobia (Crystallized Neophobia Scale, or CNS) and attitudes towards foods (Health-, Pleasure- and Convenience-Oriented Food Attitudes Scale, or HEPCON Scale) were developed. The reliability and validity of the scales were assessed using confirmatory and exploratory factor analyses. Regression analysis assessed the relations among the variables in the proposed models.

The 3-item CNS was found to be reliable and valid for both cultural groups, while the HEPCON scale was found to be reliable and valid only for Japanese respondents, for whom higher neophobia hindered the acceptance of both novel and familiar foods. Among Japanese consumers, low prior knowledge and stronger health-oriented attitudes were associated with acceptance of familiar albacore dishes, whereas high prior knowledge and stronger health-oriented attitudes were associated with lower acceptance. Willingness to try novel albacore dishes was marginally enhanced when written information on health benefits of omega-3 FA was provided or when pleasure-oriented attitudes were strong.

In contrast to previous findings, among US respondents, neophobia only affected the willingness to try familiar (and not novel) albacore dishes through a marginally significant interaction with prior knowledge. Knowledge regarding health benefits of omega-3 FA (pre-existing and as provided during the survey) enhanced mostly the acceptance of familiar albacore dishes.

Resulting models revealed cross-cultural differences in the patterns of relations among neophobia, food attitudes, knowledge on health benefits of omega-3 FA and food acceptance. The findings suggest ways in which culturally specific aspects of neophobia can be overcome with appropriate marketing strategies.

More broadly, the present research demonstrates that an integrative approach is essential to extract commonalties across fields, pinpoint "localized" patterns, and lead to actionable applications.


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