A quantitative characterisation of meals and their contexts in a sample of 25 to 49-year-old Spanish people



Marshall D, Dawson J & Jaegera SR (2009) A quantitative characterisation of meals and their contexts in a sample of 25 to 49-year-old Spanish people. Appetite, 52 (2), pp. 318-327.

To date there have been few large-scale studies empirically examining context factors and the relationships between food choice and meal occasion. This study was conducted online and used 24-h dietary recall to capture the foods eaten by a sample of 25 to 49-year-old Spanish people (n = 831), as well as some of the situational and social contexts of those meal occasions. Canonical correspondence analysis of the 3086 recorded eating occasions was used to map food and contexts and reveal associations between food categories and the meal occasions in which they were consumed. The study confirmed, quantitatively, knowledge in the extant literature, for example, that foods eaten vary by time of day and that meal occasion vary by level of formality. The canonical analysis also mapped general associations between specific types of food and certain contexts, for example between categories 'sandwich' and 'sweets and chocolate' and working on the computer. The scope for uncovering specific associations between a focal food category and the contextual characteristics of meals that it is consumed in was demonstrated in the case of fruit. In this sample of 25 to 49-year-old Spanish people, the majority (66%) of eating occasions involving fruit were categorised as main meals, of which fruit was not the main component. The times of day when fruit was most often eaten was around 3 p.m. and from around 7 p.m. and later. Fruit was also eaten more often during the week than during weekends. Overall, the findings from this study demonstrate the value of research that empirically seeks to understand the role of context effects on food choice. The use of canonical correspondence analysis was new to meals research, as was the collection of dietary recall data online. In addition to its methodological contributions, this study also offers a detailed picture of dietary patterns in the sample.

3; analysis; association; category; choice; context; data; DATE; DIETARY; EXAMPLE; factors; Food; food choice; knowledge; LEVEL; LITERATURE; MEAL; PATTERN; PATTERNS; PEOPLE; Recall; relationship; relationships; Research; Role; SAMPLE; SOCIAL context; time; VALUE; WORKING

Appetite: Volume 52, Issue 2

Publication date30/04/2009

People (1)


Professor John Dawson

Professor John Dawson

Emeritus Professor, Marketing & Retail