The contextual basis for food acceptance, food choice and food intake: the food, the situation and the individual



Research on determinants of food acceptance and food choice has emphasized sensory and other properties of the food, as well as psychological and physiological aspects of the person. In recent years there has been increased attention to the eating environment or context (Rozin and Tuorila, 1993; Hirsch and Kramer, 1993; Meiselman and Kramer, 1993; Bell and Meiselman, 1995). Until recently, there has been little attempt to organize contextual variables affecting food acceptance and choice; Rozin and Tuorila (1993) have suggested three potential organizing principles for contextual variables. They suggested a distinction between variables that are simultaneous to eating and variables that are separated in time (both past and future), which they called temporal. Second, they also noted that a distinction by reference unit could be used, distinguishing a single food exposure (e.g., bite) from a meal and a pattern of eating. And third, they noted that contextual variables could be distinguished as food or nonfood. In their review of context, they used a hybrid of these three organizing principles, although they emphasized the simultaneous-temporal distinction. Their paper represents an early and important attempt to organize contextual research. Bell and Meiselman (1995) have also very recently organized contextual variables. They divided variables into those which are antecedent to food choice and those which are present at the food choice situation. The former ones bring to the eating environment, for example, expectations, prior experience, habits, etc. The latter exert their influence directly during the eating experience, for example, social facilitation and physical variables of the eating situation. Thus, Bell and Meiselman emphasize the temporal dimension, also emphasized by Rozin and Tuorila.


Food Choice Food Preference Social Facilitation Reference Event Restrained Eating 
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