Food Neophobia is the tendency to avoid novel foods and prefer familiar foods. People vary in their degree of this neophobia and their willingness to try new foods. In regards to the text, Pliner and Hobden (1992) constructed the Food Neophobia Scale, which measures the extent individuals avoided or were reluctant to eat novel foods. Those who scored in the upper 15% were labeled neophobias, and those scored in the lower 15% were labeled neophilic (willing to try foods).
I thought this Scale was so interesting because I happen to fall within the lower 15% and am a Neophilic individual. As long as food is edible and safe to eat I pretty much eat it. However, on the other hand my boyfriend WILL NOT eat anything and happens to fall within the upper 15% and is considered a neophobic. I try to convince him to try and explore different types of food and unfamiliar things that he would never imagine trying. Can you say epic fail? The only foods he will eat are basically chicken, cheeseburgers, French fries, hot dogs, other American favorites, and of course ketchup. I on the other hand eat anything and have a major obsession of sushi. I think our differences of food preferences are partially due to the way we were raised and foods we were given as children. Whatever my parents cooked for dinner, whether I liked it or not, that’s what was for dinner and if I had a problem with it then I guess I went to bed hungry. I thank my parents for forcing me in a way to eat different foods because it reflects who I am today. I explore so many different types of foods, whether it’s ethnic foods such as Chinese or Mexican or just the way food is prepared and served.
But overall people, try everything! You can’t knock it until you try it, right? I see so many people say, “Ew that looks so gross”. Sometimes the most disgusting looking foods might be the best and tastiest. So, for anyone who is a neophobic, just go for it. Next time you’re a little nervous to eat something different, try it because it might just be your new favorite!