Can Healthy Be Tasty? The Relationship between Food Perception and Food Consumption
Objective: To explore adults’ association between food perception and frequency of food consumption. Subjects: Thirty-nine male and 157 female undergraduate students (aged 18-22) of predominantly Caucasian ethnicity from Vanderbilt University, a medium-sized, metropolitan, private university in the southern United States completed the study. Method: Participants were asked to rate 40 food items on taste, health and convenience. Subjects then indicated frequency of consumption for these food items on a modified Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ). Results: People relied primarily on taste perception for food choice. A cluster analysis revealed subgroups with similar food perception and consumption. Healthy foods were perceived as both healthy and tasty by certain clusters. Conclusions: Food cognition is clearly related to food choice. Understanding food perception in regard to health outcome could help public health, clinical and marketing professionals focus on effective methods to improve their respective approaches.