Consumer attitudes towards oxygen absorbers in food packages

Virpi Mikkola, Liisa Lähteenmäki, Eero Hurme, Raija-Liisa Heiniö, Terhen Järvi-Kääriäinen, Raija Ahvenainen

Research output: Book/ReportReport


A consumer survey preceded by a pilot study consisting of personal interviews was conducted in order to determine consumer attitudes towards oxygen absorbers used in food packages. The consumer survey questionnaires were given out with food samples (pizza with ham filling and sliced rye bread) packed both with and without an oxygen absorber in three Helsinki area supermarkets. Three hundred and fifty-two satisfactory responses were returned, resulting in a response rate of 89%. Half of the consumers received an information leaflet about oxygen absorbers. Overall, 72% of consumers accepted the use of oxygen absorbers and 23 % could not decide. The acceptance was higher among those who received the information leaflet - 76% vs. 67% in the no information group (p = 0.03). However, the information given appeared to have no effect on negative responses - in both groups, ca. 5% of consumers did not accept oxygen absorbers. Consumers who held a negative attitude towards food packaging and long shelf-lives also expressed more negative attitudes towards oxygen absorbers (p < 0.001). Correspondingly, consumers accepting the use of additives favoured the absorbers (p < 0.01). Gender, age, education or other demographic factors were not related to the attitudes towards oxygen absorbers. The use of absorbers was accepted well in the sample foods (pizza 62% and rye bread 57%) used in this study, whereas only 29 % would accept them in fresh meat. Respondents who used pizza and sliced rye bread were frequently more in favour of absorbers. Forty per cent of consumers were willing to pay at least 10 pennies (FIM 0.1) more for products with an oxygen absorber. In voluntary comments the reduction in the amount of additives used in food products was regarded as the absorber s major advantage, whereas their harmful substance and the waste produced were seen as the major disadvantages. The main concerns were that the absorbers would break up inside the package or they would fall into the possession of children or pets.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationEspoo
PublisherVTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
Number of pages38
ISBN (Electronic)951–38–5150–8
ISBN (Print)951-38-5149-4
Publication statusPublished - 1997
MoE publication typeNot Eligible

Publication series

SeriesVTT Tiedotteita - Meddelanden - Research Notes


  • food packaging
  • oxygen absorbers
  • oxygen scavengers
  • interviews
  • consumer behavior

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    Mikkola, V., Lähteenmäki, L., Hurme, E., Heiniö, R-L., Järvi-Kääriäinen, T., & Ahvenainen, R. (1997). Consumer attitudes towards oxygen absorbers in food packages. VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. VTT Tiedotteita - Meddelanden - Research Notes, No. 1858