Food Choice as a Social Problem: A Reflection on the Socio-cultural Determinants of Food Choice

Arezoo Haghighian-Roudsari, Ali Milani-Bonab, Jalaledin Mirzay-Razaz, Abouali Vedadhir



Background and Objective: Food choice similar to other human behaviors is influenced by various factors. Along with biological and physiological determinants, various factors may affect food choice including individual, environmental, cultural, social and behavioral factors. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to review the determinants of food choice especially in reference to socio-cultural factors.

Materials and Methods: This review study was conducted based on articles published from 1995 to 2017. Firstly, search was conducted by keywords in PubMed, Google scholar, Science Direct, Scopus, SID, Irandoc, Magiran and health science databases to find full text or abstract of publications. The initial search key words were "food choice" and "determinants", which were later refined by searching for particular terms like "culture" and "social". Finally, 22 articles including 6 quantitative articles and 16 qualitative articles in Persian and English were selected.

Results:  The concepts extracted as food choice determinants included nutritional self-effectiveness; media; socio-economic factors; social contexts; literacy; family dimension; social inequality; occupation; taste; ease of access; habits; food preferences; knowledge; friends, peers and parents influences; parental education; cooking skills; nutritional quality; life course; ideals; resources; food abstinence; past experiences; health; ethnicity customs; time; enjoyable experiences from foods; and satiety.

Conclusion: Adding up studies showed the importance of socio-cultural variables as food choice determinants among different groups to design and implement interventions to modify the eating behaviors. Thus, it is necessary to carry out research on the basis of socio-cultural factors for food programming.


Food, Choice, Determinant, Qualitative research, Culture, social

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