The Food Standards Agency has carried out qualitative research in an effort to find out how people’s eating habits are determined by their attitudes towards food and health, rather than by other demographic characteristic, such as age and gender.
The research identified four distinct population groups; health conscious pragmatists, convenience driven health rejecters, concerned health advocates and traditional cooking enthusiasts.
The aim of the research was to find out how people eat, what they buy and why they make certain food choices. This will help the FSA shape its work on healthier eating.
This is what they found:
“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 rejecters, 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’.”