Abstract:Background: Despite recommendations to increase fruit and vegetable consumption within the UK population, intakes are still too low. In order to stimulate dietary behaviour change the determinants of food choice need to be explored.
To investigate how the priorities of high consumers of fruit and vegetables differ from those of low consumers, with respect to food choice motivations, and to identify what value high and low consumers place on different aspects of food choice behaviour.
A 4-day food diary and a questionnaire, including The Food Choice Questionnaire (FCQ) and a measure of Stage of Change (SOC) for fruit and vegetable consumption, were administered to subjects. Motivation scores from the FCQ were compared with fruit and vegetable intake and SOC data.
Nine hundred and ninety-eight females, aged 35–69 years, participating in the UK Women's Cohort Study.
In a multiple linear regression model, including age, education level and all FCQ motivations, the strongest motivations specifically affecting fruit and vegetable intake were health and natural content. It was found that, for a one point increase (measured on a scale of 0–4) in health and natural content scores, fruit and vegetable consumption increased by 1.11 portions (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.5–1.7) and 0.84 portions (95% CI 0.4–1.3), respectively (P>0.01). The SOC evaluation showed significant associations with portions of fruit and vegetables consumed (P>0.01). Women whose SOC was classed as maintenance phase were found to score higher on health, natural content, weight control and ethical concern factors (P>0.01). These women also scored lower on convenience questions (P>0.01).
In this particular group of women the most important motivating factors for food choice, within the high fruit and vegetable consumers, were health and natural content of the food.