Special Issue "Individual Determinants of Food Choice in a New Decade"

A special issue of Foods (ISSN 2304-8158). This special issue belongs to the section "Sensory and Consumer Sciences".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 25 September 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Luís Miguel Cunha
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Departamento de Geociências, Ambiente e Ordenamento do Território, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal
Interests: application of fast sensory profiling techniques for food products; dynamic profiling; food-evoked emotions and food choice criteria
Dr. Ana Pinto de Moura
E-Mail Website
Co-Guest Editor
Departamento de Ciências e Tecnologia, Universidade Aberta, Porto, Portugal
Interests: the use of qualitative research methods to unravel determinants of food choice with a focus on healthy and sustainable eating

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In recent decades, rapid changes in diets and lifestyles have occurred with industrialization, urbanization, economic development, and market globalization, with those drivers promoting the acculturation process of diet Westernization among other cultures/countries, namely toward upper-to middle-income developing economies, but also in populations having rich and deeply rooted culinary traditions, such as Japan or Southern European countries. Food consumption, in fact, has seen the rise of different and contrasting trends: globalization pushing towards a homogenization of tastes and a standardization of consumption models, and market niches emerging which are characterized by a greater sensitivity to quality, intended as organoleptic properties, healthiness, and respect for the natural and cultural environment of the production territories, and even pushing the boundaries for novel and alternative food/protein sources, with a strong view on sustainability. In the present moment, the world is experiencing great turmoil due to the worldwide pressures and tensions created by the COVID-19 pandemic that force consumers to change their habits and even re-shape the supply chain, creating a global change from farm to fork.

Food choice is a complex behavior influenced by many interrelating factors, as consumers are faced with several factors every time decisions about food are made. These factors may be categorized as those related to food, the individual making the choice, and the external economic and social environment within which the choice is made. Within the limitations of dietary domains, the individual food choice is most often concerned with the more immediate aspects, such as sensory attributes, convenience, wellbeing, self-expression, variety, and monetary constraints, i.e., the cost of the product against the income, and sustainability.

This Special Issue intends to be the union of multidisciplinary areas of knowledge, in order to understand the main individual food choice drivers, among consumers from different cultures, particularly under the scope of the current factors affecting the food system and shaping food choice during this decade. For this, the editors are looking for high-quality research and practical initiatives which investigate drivers of food choice.

Prof. Dr. Luís Miguel Cunha
Dr. Ana Pinto de Moura
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Foods is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Individual food choice determinants
  • Sustainability
  • New and novel ingredients (insects, algae, vegetable protein, by-product upscaling)
  • Convenience
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Emotions
  • Risk perception
  • New consumer lifestyles

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

Article
A Novel Method for Food Market Regulation by Emotional Tendencies Predictions from Food Reviews Based on Blockchain and SAEs
Foods 2021, 10(6), 1398; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10061398 - 17 Jun 2021
Viewed by 174
Abstract
As a part of food safety research, researches on food transactions safety has attracted increasing attention recently. Food choice is an important factor affecting food transactions safety: It can reflect consumer preferences and provide a basis for market regulation. Therefore, this paper proposes [...] Read more.
As a part of food safety research, researches on food transactions safety has attracted increasing attention recently. Food choice is an important factor affecting food transactions safety: It can reflect consumer preferences and provide a basis for market regulation. Therefore, this paper proposes a food market regulation method based on blockchain and a deep learning model: Stacked autoencoders (SAEs). Blockchain is used to ensure the fairness of transactions and achieve transparency within the transaction process, thereby reducing the complexity of the trading environment. In order to enhance the usability, relevant Web pages have been developed to make it more friendly and conduct a security analysis for using blockchain. Consumers’ reviews after the transactions are finished can be used to train SAEs in order to perform emotional tendencies predictions. Compared with different advanced models for predictions, the test results show that SAEs have a better performance. Furthermore, in order to provide a basis for the formulation of regulation strategies and its related policies, case studies of different traders and commodities have also been conducted, proving the effectiveness of the proposed method. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Individual Determinants of Food Choice in a New Decade)
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Article
Photograph Based Evaluation of Consumer Expectation on Healthiness, Fullness, and Acceptance of Sandwiches as Convenience Food
Foods 2021, 10(5), 1102; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10051102 - 16 May 2021
Viewed by 348
Abstract
Sandwiches are the most common “casual-food” consumed by all age groups in Spain. Due to the importance of visual appearance to promote unplanned or impulse buying, foodservice and hospitality companies focus on improving the visual impression of their food menus to create an [...] Read more.
Sandwiches are the most common “casual-food” consumed by all age groups in Spain. Due to the importance of visual appearance to promote unplanned or impulse buying, foodservice and hospitality companies focus on improving the visual impression of their food menus to create an expectation that satisfies both sensory and hedonic consumer experiences. To provide a list of attributes about the visual appearance of sandwiches, 25 students were recruited from a university and were invited to participate in two nominal group technique (NGT) sessions. To understand whether a sandwiches’ appearance can influence the expectation of consumers, 259 participants completed an online survey specially designed from the results of the NGT sessions. Data were analyzed using conjoint, internal preference mapping and cluster analysis; the interaction effect by gender was also studied. The conjoint results indicate that visual perception about the filling (vegetal or pork based) plays the most key role overall in consumer expectation. When consumers choose vegetables as the filling, the consumers’ perceived sandwiches as healthier, but the pork filling was perceived as more attractive and satiating. Interaction effect by gender was observed in filling when females perceived pork filling as less healthy than vegetable. By acceptance, consumers were segmented into three groups. The first cluster (n = 80) selected the pork filling. The smaller group (cluster 3, n = 36) prioritized the vegetal filling, and the most numerous cluster 2 (n = 140) liked sandwiches with multigrain bread. These results may help companies to build tailor-made marketing strategies to satisfy consumer segments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Individual Determinants of Food Choice in a New Decade)
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Article
“The Good, The Bad, and the Minimum Tolerable”: Exploring Expectations of Institutional Food
Foods 2021, 10(4), 767; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10040767 - 03 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 441
Abstract
There is a tendency towards greater expectations of consumer goods and services in society—what was once judged as ideal may now be a bare minimum. This presents a challenge for food providers in the upcoming decades. As the more demanding baby boomer cohort [...] Read more.
There is a tendency towards greater expectations of consumer goods and services in society—what was once judged as ideal may now be a bare minimum. This presents a challenge for food providers in the upcoming decades. As the more demanding baby boomer cohort ages, health institutions of the future will face challenges meeting their food expectations. The purpose of this study was to explore expectation type dynamics and function with updated empirical material on aging consumers expectations of institutional food and advance our current understanding of how consumers evaluate their expectations. This qualitative study employed in-depth semi structured interviews with 14 informants between the age of 58–79. Content analysis was performed to capture the informants’ food expectations based on the expectation hierarchy proposed by Santos and Boote. Analyzing the content and relationship between different expectation types led to three main findings: expectation functions and content, interconnectedness, and the role of affect. Based on the findings, this study contributes by making several propositions for future research and proposes an updated expectancy–disconfirmation model. Importantly, this study provides novel knowledge that can help health institutions understand and meet aging consumers expectations of institutional food. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Individual Determinants of Food Choice in a New Decade)
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Article
Consumer-Led Adaptation of the EsSense Profile® for Herbal Infusions
Foods 2021, 10(3), 684; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10030684 - 23 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 470
Abstract
This work aimed to adapt the EsSense Profile® emotions list to the discrimination of herbal infusions, aiming to evaluate the effect of harvesting conditions on the emotional profile. A panel of 100 consumers evaluated eight organic infusions: lemon verbena, peppermint, lemon thyme, [...] Read more.
This work aimed to adapt the EsSense Profile® emotions list to the discrimination of herbal infusions, aiming to evaluate the effect of harvesting conditions on the emotional profile. A panel of 100 consumers evaluated eight organic infusions: lemon verbena, peppermint, lemon thyme, lemongrass, chamomile, lemon balm, globe amaranth and tutsan, using a check-all-that-apply (CATA) ballot with the original EsSense Profile®. A set of criteria was applied to get a discriminant list. First, the terms with low discriminant power and with a frequency mention below 35% were removed. Two focus groups were also performed to evaluate the applicability of the questionnaire. The content analysis of focus groups suggests the removal of the terms good and pleasant, recognized as sensory attributes. Six additional terms were removed, considered to be too similar to other existing emotion terms. Changes in the questionnaire, resulting in a list of 24 emotion terms for the evaluation of selected herbal infusions, were able to discriminate beyond overall liking. When comparing finer differences between plants harvested under different conditions, differences were identified for lemon verbena infusions, yielding the mechanical cut of plant tips as the one leading to a more appealing evoked emotions profile. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Individual Determinants of Food Choice in a New Decade)
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Article
Food Choice and Waste in University Dining Commons—A Menus of Change University Research Collaborative Study
Foods 2021, 10(3), 577; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10030577 - 10 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 979
Abstract
The purpose of this multi-campus research was to investigate the relationships of food type and personal factors with food choice, consumption, and waste behaviors of college students at all-you-care-to-eat dining facilities. The amount of food taken and wasted was indirectly measured in units [...] Read more.
The purpose of this multi-campus research was to investigate the relationships of food type and personal factors with food choice, consumption, and waste behaviors of college students at all-you-care-to-eat dining facilities. The amount of food taken and wasted was indirectly measured in units relative to the plate size using before and after photos taken by the diners themselves. Animal protein and mixed dishes (e.g., stir fry, sandwich) took up more of diners’ plate space and these items were correlated to both greater hedonic appeal as well as a higher likelihood of the item being pre-plated. Greater confidence in liking an item before choosing it was correlated to a larger portion being taken. Finally, increased satisfaction with the meal and frequency of visiting the dining commons was correlated to less food waste. Understanding these potential food choice drivers can help dining facilities better target healthier meals to diners while reducing food waste. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Individual Determinants of Food Choice in a New Decade)
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Article
Australian Consumers’ Preferences for Food Attributes: A Latent Profile Analysis
Foods 2021, 10(1), 56; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10010056 - 28 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 612
Abstract
Understanding consumer food preferences can provide agribusinesses with a competitive advantage through meeting consumers’ needs. Consumers’ preferences for food attributes have been extensively examined, focusing on specific aspects of attributes with specific food products. It is less clear how consumers evaluate the relative [...] Read more.
Understanding consumer food preferences can provide agribusinesses with a competitive advantage through meeting consumers’ needs. Consumers’ preferences for food attributes have been extensively examined, focusing on specific aspects of attributes with specific food products. It is less clear how consumers evaluate the relative importance of the key food attributes in general. Applying the commonly adopted classification of food attributes into endogenous attributes (i.e., safety and freshness) and exogenous attributes (i.e., genetically modified (GM)-free and organic), the relative importance of these attributes for consumers was investigated. Furthermore, the heterogeneity of preferences was explored to identify distinct subgroups of consumers who may differ in valuing various food attributes. An online survey of 489 city dwellers in Australia revealed that the endogenous attributes were regarded as the most important in an order of safety and freshness. The exogenous attributes were rated as much less important. Three profiles with distinctive preferences for food attributes were identified: Not Fussy (12% of participants), Quality First (49%) and Choosy (39%). The findings suggest that consumers value the importance of various food attributes in a hierarchical order, and there is significant heterogeneity in consumers’ food preference. The implications of these findings are discussed in the context of food policy and agribusiness decision-making. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Individual Determinants of Food Choice in a New Decade)
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Article
Factors Underlying Food Choice Motives in a Brazilian Sample: The Association with Socioeconomic Factors and Risk Perceptions about Chronic Diseases
Foods 2020, 9(8), 1114; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods9081114 - 13 Aug 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1026
Abstract
This study aimed to evaluate the food choice motives in a sample in Brazil and to identify how socioeconomic characteristics and risk perceptions about chronic diseases and weight gain affect these motives. The Food Choice Questionnaire (FCQ) is an instrument to analyze the [...] Read more.
This study aimed to evaluate the food choice motives in a sample in Brazil and to identify how socioeconomic characteristics and risk perceptions about chronic diseases and weight gain affect these motives. The Food Choice Questionnaire (FCQ) is an instrument to analyze the motivations for food choice. The FCQ was completed by 525 adult individuals in Brazil. The participants were asked about their perceived risk of gaining weight, developing diabetes, and hypertension. Confirmatory factor analysis led to the rejection of the original FCQ structure, and, after exploratory factor analysis, 30 items of the FCQ were maintained in eight factors: Nutritional Composition, Preparation Convenience, Purchase Convenience, Mood, Sensory Appeal, Health, Price, and Familiarity. Sensory Appeal and Familiarity were, respectively, the most and the least important factors involved in food choices in this sample. A high education level, high income, age, and female sex positively affected FCQ factors (except for the Price factor). On the basis of FCQ scores, we defined five clusters: Health Driven, Practicality Concerned, Shape Concerned, Food Concerned, and Cooking Enthusiasts. In general, individuals were optimistic regarding the risk of developing diabetes, hypertension, and gaining weight, especially those from the Shape Concerned cluster. The differences in food choice motives presented here reinforce the existence of different niches of food consumption. Different types of products can attract specific target groups at the time of choice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Individual Determinants of Food Choice in a New Decade)
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