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Mismatch between food sustainability and consumer acceptance toward innovation technologies among Millennial students: The case of Shelf Life Extension

Cavaliere, Alessia, Ventura, Vera
Journal of cleaner production 2018 v.175 pp. 641-650
consumer acceptance, food loss, foods, shelf life, students, technology
The academic interest towards food products produced with innovative technologies has increased and a specific attention has been paid on the factors that could explain consumer acceptance or skepticism with regard to these new technologies. In this frame, the aim of this work is to analyze the factors that affect consumer acceptance towards new technologies in food with a special focus on Shelf Life Extension, which is considered to be one of the most sustainability-driving food innovations. The target group for the analysis is represented by the Millennial Generation (MG) students (n = 1027), recruited through a face to face survey.The results evidenced that higher levels of food knowledge led to an increase in acceptance whereas, in contrast, a greater interest in sustainability led to technology rejection. As the main scope of these technologies is to increase the overall sustainability of food products by reducing food loss and chain fails, the mismatch evidenced by the rejection of Shelf Life Extension technology by eco-friendly individuals outlines that the innovation technologies in food products is perceived by consumers as risky per se, regardless of the specific technology. In a nutshell, individuals characterized by high sustainability concerns fail to recognize, in science and technology, a possible contribution for a more sustainable world.