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Food choice

Food Today

Many different factors affect the type of food chosen and consumed, but the skill to prepare appropriate food plays an important role. A lack of skills in preparing and cooking food could impact on health as it can limit choices. Can building people’s confidence in cooking food make Europeans healthier?
Very few of our taste preferences are biologically preset. Much rather they are linked with some sort of experience. Although there are some genetic factors that cause differences in taste perception, similarities in taste preferences much more commonly reflect similar experiences with types of flavours and foods. The shaping of taste preferences begins in the womb and continues throughout the rest of our lives.
The HELENA (Healthy Lifestyle in Europe by Nutrition in Adolescents) study gives new insights into the food and lifestyle habits of young people in five countries and shows surprising similarities, as well as some key differences, across Europe.
One might assume that the many factors influencing food behaviour provide a whole set of means to intervene in, and improve, people's food choices. However, closer examination reveals that barriers to dietary and lifestyle change exist. These barriers, as well as the possible solutions, will be discussed below.
The article highlighted the need to consider the senses when promoting dietary change. This article focuses on the socio-economic factors that influence food choice and draws attention to the difficulties facing low-income groups in achieving a healthy diet.
The vast array of factors influencing food choice was introduced in a previous issue of Food Today. This article examines how our biological characteristics determine our food selection and the role of appetite, palatability and taste in food choice. Future articles will examine the socio-economic determinants of food choice, barriers to dietary change and models of behavioural change.
Concern about food choices that may have adverse effects on health is currently at the forefront of public health. A greater understanding of the determinants that affect food choice is vital given the priority for population dietary change. Eating behaviour is complex and this article introduces the vast array of factors recognised as having an impact on food choice. Future articles will explore in more detail how biological factors affect food choice, will address the barriers to dietary change, and explain models of behavioural change.
To help policy makers understand what motivates people in their choice of food, the Institute of European Food Studies questioned about 14 500 consumers from the EU member states on their attitudes, beliefs and practices relating to food and health. This article, the first in a series examining the results of the IEFS survey, focuses on what people believe are the main determinants of their eating habits and their attitude to 'healthy eating'.
Nutrition labelling becomes more and more widespread on food packages in Europe. But do consumers really notice these labels and do they understand them? Most critically, are they able to use such nutrition information to make healthier choices when shopping?
In a bid to curb the spread of diet-related diseases, governments and food companies increasingly promote nutrition labelling to help the consumer make healthy, informed food choices. The EU-funded project FLABEL (Food Labelling to Advance Better Education for Life) will assess the state of play and develop best practice guidelines for future research and policies.
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ABOUT EUFIC
The European Food Information Council (EUFIC) is a non-profit organisation which communicates science-based information on nutrition and health, food safety and quality, to help consumers to be better informed when choosing a well-balanced, safe and healthful diet.

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This site was last updated 23/04/2014
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