Understanding what drives consumer food choices is essential for policymakers tasked with improving people’s eating habits and well-being. To offer some answers, CONSUMEHealth studied the influence of individual, social and environmental factors.
Effective strategies to improve dietary choices need to be informed by an understanding of how consumers actually make food decisions. These choices are the result of a complex mix of factors, including individual socio-demographic and psychological reasons. These can include the cultural context, societal values and peer activity. The wider environment also influences outcomes, governing how dietary information is communicated for instance. The EU-supported CONSUMEHealth project set out to improve healthy eating habits, based on consumer evidence. The research addressed pivotal issues such as what food information is best conveyed to consumers and how. It also considered what the best predictors for healthy eating patterns are: individual preferences; levels of involvement; expectations, or demographic indicators.