Fruit And Veg Consumption Essay, Research Paper
Attempts so far to examine fruit and vegetable consumption have been limited, mainly examining those with low fruit and vegetable consumption or examining the behaviour within the framework offered by the attitude models described earlier in this chapter. A shortcoming of many of the studies outlined above, is that a starting point is often assumed where the main facilitator of fruit and vegetable consumption is that individuals are motivated to eat fruit and vegetables largely for health reasons, and therefore the behaviour is explored within this narrow context. An important aspect of food choice, omitted from the attitudinal models, is the experiential or hedonic motivations for consumption. It may be the case that health beliefs are important in influencing fruit and vegetable consumption (as featured in the work of Brug et al, 1995), but fruit and vegetable consumption may be motivated by hedonics (Holbrook and Hirschman, 1982) or by appearance and self-esteem (Hayes and Ross, 1987). Research into this area has to include motivation to consume, as well as other psychological factors. There is also a clear need to incorporate the social influences on fruit and vegetable consumption, such as the influence of the family.
It is also clear from the literature that understanding of the process from motivation or behavioural intention to consumption or behaviour is weak, in general. While studies have looked at the barriers to fruit and vegetable consumption (Cox et al, 1995; Anderson, et al, 1994b), there has been no study which has systematically considered these as intervening variables influencing consumption.
Given these gaps in the literature, the present research focuses on modelling fruit and vegetable consumption. Multivariate approaches (such as discriminant analysis and log linear analysis ) are available to establish the most salient variables influencing consumption, which provides the basis of a model of how these variables influence fruit and vegetable consumption behaviour. Understanding non- or low-consumption of fruit and vegetables is central to this thesis; models of low and high fruit and vegetable consumers per se may provide some insights into this consumption behaviour. Developing models from a goal directed perspective would also assist in achieving a further understanding of the nature of the influence of these variables/factors, and the process by which they influence consumption. A comparison of important influences for those with a positive behavioural intention to consume fruit/vegetables would provide these insights.
The main research question, then, is What are the factors influencing fruit and vegetable consumption, and how might their relationship be modelled? .
To answer this it is necessary to first establish the most salient factors influencing consumption of both fruit and vegetables, and then to consider what intervenes between commitment to act and action. This leads to various research questions:
1. What are the important factors influencing fruit and vegetable consumption?
2. How do these factors interact, to influence fruit and vegetable consumption?
It is not possible from the literature discussed to compile a comprehensive list of salient factors influencing fruit and vegetable consumption, in particular the factors which facilitate consumption. Further, it is not clear how consumers and non-consumers of fruit and vegetables differ in terms of the factors, i.e. there is no indication of how these interact to influence behaviour. Lastly, it appears that the framework proposed by Bagozzi (1988) for considering achievement of behaviour, may be a useful starting point for guiding the research, since that framework focuses on the important variables intervening between behavioural intention and behaviour. Studies using the Theory of Planned Behaviour have already suggested that perceived behavioural control (which embodies situational factors influencing behaviour) is fairly important. The goal directed approach would place the focus of the research firmly in the context of exploring these intervening variables enabling or constraining execution of the behaviour (i.e. consumption of fruit and vegetables).