What drives food choice?


Dr. Sophie Hieke,
Head of Consumer Science European Food Information Council

To understand why we eat what we eat we need to understand what makes us choose and buy different food and drink products. What are the drivers behind our choices?

EUFIC (the European Food Information Council) has looked at consumers from five different countries (UK, France, Italy, Poland and Turkey) and their choice behaviour for a number of different product categories.

The two main themes that have emerged are “indulgence” and “health”. Consumers are looking for an enjoyable consumption experience but they also link that consumption to a number of health benefits. The way these links are established is interesting, though. Contrary to what one might expect, it isn’t always the actual healthfulness (i.e., nutritional value, health benefits, portion size etc.) that makes consumers associate specific products with a health benefit. Rather, we find that it’s the way food makes us feel when we consume it. Take a look at the following line of reasoning: “when I enjoy eating a tasty food, it puts me in a good mood and helps me relax after a long, stressful day – and this moment of relaxation is good for my health”. Long working hours, hectic ...