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Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1437; doi:10.3390/su9081437

What Leads to Lunch—How Social Practices Impact (Non-)Sustainable Food Consumption/Eating Habits

1
Department Food Nutrition Facilities, University of Applied Science Muenster, 48149 Münster, Germany
2
Research Group Sustainable Production and Consumption, Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment, Energy, 42103 Wuppertal, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 12 July 2017 / Revised: 1 August 2017 / Accepted: 11 August 2017 / Published: 15 August 2017
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Abstract

The field of nutrition will face numerous challenges in coming decades; these arise from global consumption patterns and lead to a high use of resources. Actors in the catering sector face difficulties in promoting their solutions for a more sustainable situation in their field, one of them being the lack of acceptance from consumers. We must ask the question of how to influence consumer behavior and bring forth a transition towards more sustainable food consumption. This paper presents results of a qualitative assessment of eating practices. A group of ten consumers participated in problem-centered interviews and provided data on their eating-out behavior over the course of two weeks. Using the theoretical approach of practice theory, the data gathered in this study were used to form an understanding of the practice of eating out with a focus on the daily routines that influence consumer choices. The results indicate that the practice of eating out is highly dependent on external factors. Busy lifestyles, mobility routines and a perceived lack of time prompt the decision to eat out. Consumers consciously do so to save time and effort and to streamline their schedules. Mobility seems to be an important driver for eating out. Participants try to limit the ways they undertake eating out yet often stop for a meal in-between appointments spontaneously. Findings suggest that nutrition knowledge and sustainable mindsets have little influence on the eating decisions away from home: Participants show a high level of distrust towards quality claims and put their health concerns aside eating out. We can conclude that the act of eating out is strongly influenced by daily routines and those practices that precede or succeed it. Changes in work and mobility patterns are very likely to have an impact on the way consumers eat away from home. View Full-Text
Keywords: sustainable food consumption; sustainable consumption; public catering; consumption behavior; eating out sustainable food consumption; sustainable consumption; public catering; consumption behavior; eating out
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Pfeiffer, C.; Speck, M.; Strassner, C. What Leads to Lunch—How Social Practices Impact (Non-)Sustainable Food Consumption/Eating Habits. Sustainability 2017, 9, 1437.

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