As sodium and sugar intake in South Korea exceed recommended levels, the government and food industry have been attempting to reduce the amount of sodium and sugar in the food products. In line with these efforts, this study sought to examine how the purchase intention for low-sodium/low-sugar products vary based on consumers' previous choices of low-sodium/low-sugar products and other consumer-related factors. For this study, two online survey-based experiments were conducted: one using soy sauce to represent a sodium-based product and the other using yogurt to represent a sugar-based product. The significant variables that influenced the purchase intention for both were the consumers' previous low-sodium/low-sugar product choices and their propensity for food neophobia. Consumers who had previously selected regular products showed a lower intention to purchase low-sodium soy sauce or low-sugar yogurt. In addition, those who had a strong tendency toward food neophobia also had a significantly lower purchase intention for these products. Moreover, the lower the consumer's unhealthy = tasty intuition (UTI), the higher the purchase intention for the low-sodium soy sauce, but UTI did not act as a significant variable for the low-sugar yogurt. These results demonstrate that government interventions for low-sodium products and low-sugar products should be differentiated.
Keywords: cognitive dissonance theory; food neophobia; low-sodium; low-sugar; unhealthy = tasty intuition.