Attitude to health affects eating habits
Thursday 17 July 2008
The Agency has carried out qualitative research to find out more about how people’s eating habits are determined by their attitudes towards food and health, rather than by other demographic characteristics, such as age and gender.
Four distinct population groups were identified for the research: health conscious pragmatists, convenience driven health rejecters, concerned health advocates and traditional cooking enthusiasts.
The aim was to find out how people eat, what they buy and why they make certain food choices, to help the Agency shape its work on healthier eating. The research was carried out as part of the most recent wave of the Agency’s Consumer Attitudes Survey.
The research found that:
- Health conscious pragmatists represent 22% of the UK adult population. This liberal group is characterised by a belief that although healthy eating is important, convenience foods are not necessarily a bad thing. Health Conscious Pragmatists tend to embrace modern cuisines and are willing to experiment and try new foods.
- Convenience driven health rejectors, representing 29% of the population, are likely to rank convenience above health when choosing what to eat. Their relatively short-term outlook in life means they often look to food for immediate gratification and stimulation, and enjoy eating out regularly.
- Concerned health advocates, who rank healthy eating the most highly of all the groups, represent 25% of the UK adult population. The concerned health advocates know what a healthy balanced diet looks like and appreciate being given information about food.
- Traditional cooking enthusiasts comprising 24% of the population, are enthusiastic cooks and tend to disapprove of convenience food. Traditional cooking enthusiasts are disciplined and conventional. Food is extremely important to them, and they are passionate about making ‘proper meals’ the ‘proper way’.
The seventh annual wave of the Consumer Attitudes Survey was conducted between August and October 2006. This additional analysis is based on the Consumer Attitudes Survey data as well as subsequent exploratory research, conducted in July 2007.