Chemophobia is the irrational fear that some individuals have of compounds or ingredients perceived as synthetic or unnatural. Most people use the word “chemical” to refer to substances created synthetically or artificially. The chemical phobia extends to foods made with sugar or preservatives – all items that need to comply with safety and quality protocols before being sold.

Chemophobia is spreading with the contribution of biased scientists and professionals, activists, entities and bloggers who are successful raising this flag. But the fact is that, for the most part, people are healthier, safety regulations have become stricter, and products are more qualified and safer.

Those responsible for spreading chemophobia create unnecessary guilt, stress and anxiety as consumers worry about the ideal choices for their families. It turns out that consumers are victims in this battle that also has to do with the market. Pro-natural businesses spread fear over conventional products.

Chemophobia is not a clinical phobia, but an informed and conscious choice, influenced by the information people have access to and a worldview they build on.

When evaluating the safety of a product or food, we cannot stick to the fact that it is natural or not. The origin of a chemical compound itself interests us, of course, but it says nothing about the toxicological, health and bioavailability profile. In short, this is not what determines whether the item will be safe and effective or will act and remain in the body.

Processing played a more important role in the perception of the naturalness of a product than the ingredients of the product itself. Products with a processing history that people can identify with (products made by hand with familiar additives and preserved in a way that the consumer knows well) are considered by most people to be more “natural”.

The key to overcoming chemophobia is to learn to judge chemicals rationally and to learn to look clearly at labeling claims in order to make more sensible choices.

Solutions for your business

As the need for heightened transparency among consumers increases, food preservation techniques must also evolve. Whether you’re looking for conventional preservatives, natural alternatives, or formulation support, our team at Cofood is equipped to help you find the right solutions for your products. Contact us today to discover the right formulation solution for your business.

Ing. Chimico e Alimentare Camila Schiavinatto Godoy


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