Economic and social changes occurring after Croatia´s entrance to European Union require a more intense research on consumers´ openness to a new and globalized market. A concept known as Consumer Ethnocentrism, when consumers prefer buying domestic rather than foreign products because is detrimental to national economy, is strongly present in post-war markets in the West Balkans. Another phenomenon related to peoples´ fear of trying new or unknown food, called Food Neophobia, has been under study in America and in some European countries. Despite the long list of articles focusing their attention on Consumer Ethnocentrism in the Balkans, none research has been conducted on the food sector in Croatia, where a globalized and competitive market is opening and people´s phobias of trying unknown food may embarrass new businesses entrance.

This paper aims to analyze whether a relationship exists between those two concepts, thus trying to answer the main hypothesis: “Ethnocentrism is positively related to Food Neophobia”. Consumer Ethnocentrism Tendency and Food Neophobia scales were applied to 159 students from Zagreb University. Results indicate that Consumer Ethnocentrism and Food Neophobia have affected consumers´ choice in a discrete way, (r = .28, r2 = .08), however no significant relationship was found between them. In regard of differences on the level of Food Neophobia between gender, none statistically relevant difference was found (t = 1,02, df = 60, p>.05), nor on the level of Ethnocentrism and Food Neophobia in students who have lived abroad (t = -1,68, df = 67, p>.05). Implications of these findings for businesses interested in entering Croatian market for the first time are discussed.

Publication Date


Document Type

Master's Project

Student Type


Degree Name

Service Leadership and Innovation (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

Department of Service Systems (CET)


Jennifer Matic


RIT Croatia