Predicting the intent to purchase unfamiliar and familiar cheeses: The effects of attitudes, expected liking and food neophobia

Anne Arvola, L. Lähteenmäki, H. Tuorila

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

129 Citations (Scopus)


The attitude model of the theory of reasoned action (TRA) has been applied mainly to predicting the choice of familiar foods; however, the choice of unfamiliar foods may be governed by distinct factors. In the present study, 92 females rated their attitudes and subjective norms about the purchase intentions of two familiar and two unfamiliar cheeses, and the expected and actual pleasantness of them. They also completed the food neophobia scale, which measures the tendency to avoid novel foods. Neophobic persons rated the attitudes and expected and actual taste pleasantness lower than neophilics for all cheeses, except for the most familiar, mild cheese. This suggests that food neophobia also indicates the tendency not only to avoid, but also to dislike novel foods. Before tasting, attitudes and subjective norms together predicted the intent to purchase familiar cheeses better (R2 = 0.54 and 0.58) than for novel cheeses (R2 = 0.24 and 0.35); thus, the basic TRA model was not as useful in predicting intent to purchase unfamiliar as familiar cheeses. The predictions especially for the novel cheeses were clearly improved by including expected pleasantness ratings in the model. The usefulness of the food neophobia score as an additional predictor was not clearly supported. Attitudes and subjective norms measured before tasting were poor predictors of purchase intents after tasting, which implies the importance of taste and direct product experience in food choice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-126
Number of pages14
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1999
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


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