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Understanding the motives for food choice in Western Balkan countries
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Dr Matthew Gorton
Milosevic J, Zezelj I, Gorton M, Barjolle D
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Substantial empirical evidence exists regarding the importance of different factors underlying food choice in Western Europe. However, research results on eating habits and food choice in the Western Balkan Countries (WBCs) remain scarce. A Food Choice Questionnaire (FCQ), an instrument that measures the reported importance of nine factors underlying food choice, was administered to a representative sample of 3085 adult respondents in six WBCs. The most important factors reported are sensory appeal, purchase convenience, and health and natural content; the least important are ethical concern and familiarity. The ranking of food choice motives across WBCs was strikingly similar. Factor analysis revealed eight factors compared to nine in the original FCQ model: health and natural content scales loaded onto one factor as did familiarity and ethical concern; the convenience scale items generated two factors, one related to purchase convenience and the other to preparation convenience. Groups of consumers with similar motivational profiles were identified using cluster analysis. Each cluster has distinct food purchasing behavior and socio-economic characteristics, for which appropriate public health communication messages can be drawn.
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