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Public Health Nutr. 2000 Jun;3(2):219-26.

Sociodemographic determinants of perceived influences on food choice in a nationally representative sample of Irish adults.

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Institute of European Food Studies, Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland.



To identify the most important motivations for food choice from the point of view of the consumer in the Irish population, and to characterize those subjects who do and do not regard nutrition as a significant consideration in food choice.


As part of a pan-European Union (EU) survey on consumer attitudes to food, nutrition and health, a quota-controlled, nationally representative sample of Irish adults (n = 1009) aged 15 years upwards, completed an interview-assisted, close-ended questionnaire. Subjects selected three factors, from a list of 15, which they believed had the greatest influence on their food choice.


The interviews for the survey were conducted in subjects' homes.


'Quality/freshness of food' was the most frequently selected food choice factor (51%) followed by 'taste' (43%) and 'trying to eat a healthy diet' (36%). Female gender, increasing age and higher levels of education were found to be independent sociodemographic factors affecting the selection of 'trying to eat a healthy diet' as an important factor in food choice.


Although included in the top five most frequently selected factors affecting food choice, nutrition/healthy eating does not appear to have top priority for the majority of Irish adults. There are differences between the various sociodemographic groups within the population; males and younger subjects appear to require specific nutrition promotion messages.

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