Social marketing and healthy eating: findings from young people in Greece

  • Ariadne Beatrice Kapetanaki
  • David Ross Brennan
  • Martin Caraher
Original Article


Greece has high rates of obesity and non-communicable diseases owing to poor dietary choices. This research provides lessons for social marketing to tackle the severe nutrition-related problems in this country by obtaining insight into the eating behaviour of young adults aged 18–23. Also, the main behavioural theories used to inform the research are critically discussed. The research was conducted in Athens. Nine focus groups with young adults from eight educational institutions were conducted and fifty-nine participants’ views towards eating habits, healthy eating and the factors that affect their food choices were explored. The study found that the participants adopted unhealthier nutritional habits after enrolment. Motivations for healthy eating were good health, appearance and psychological consequences, while barriers included lack of time, fast-food availability and taste, peer pressure, lack of knowledge and lack of family support. Participants reported lack of supportive environments when deciding on food choices. Based on the findings, recommendations about the development of the basic 4Ps of the marketing mix, as well as of a fifth P, for Policy are proposed.


Greece Educational institutions Healthy eating Upstream social marketing Food policy Behavioural theories 



The authors would like to acknowledge the Onassis Public Benefit Foundation for the funding of this research (grant number: F-ZD 030/2007–2008) and all the participants who volunteered to participate in the focus groups. Also, many thanks to Pr. Tim Lang for his valuable and thoughtful insights during the whole research project and to Pr. Gerard Hastings for his thoughts and encouragement to write this article. Finally, acknowledgements go to the two anonymous reviewers for their useful comments and suggestions.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ariadne Beatrice Kapetanaki
    • 1
    • 2
  • David Ross Brennan
    • 1
  • Martin Caraher
    • 2
  1. 1.Marketing & Enterprise, Hertfordshire Business SchoolUniversity of HertfordshireHatfieldUK
  2. 2.Centre for Food PolicyCity University LondonLondonUK

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