food choice

Research into food choice investigates how people select the food they eat. This topic is the subject of research in nutrition, food science, psychology, anthropology, sociology, and other branches of the natural and social sciences. It is also of great practical interest to the food industry and especially its marketing endeavors. Social scientists have developed different conceptual frameworks of food choice behavior. Theoretical models of behavior incorporate both individual and environmental factors affecting the formation or modification of behaviors. Social cognitive theory examines the interaction of environmental, personal, and behavioral factors. An interdisciplinary topic, food choice comprises psychological and sociological aspects (including food politics and phenomena such as vegetarianism or religious dietary laws), economic issues (for instance, how food prices or marketing campaigns influence choice) and sensory aspects (such as the study of the organoleptic qualities of food). Taste preference and sensory attributes guide food choice. Other factors involved in food choice include cost, availability, convenience, cognitive restraint, and cultural familiarity. In addition, environmental cues and increased portion sizes play a role in the choice and amount of foods consumed.