Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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    The influence of acute partial sleep deprivation on liking, choosing and consuming high- and low-energy foods
    Benjamins, Jeroen S. ; Hooge, Ignace T.C. ; Benedict, Christian ; Smeets, Paul A.M. ; Laan, Laura N. van der - \ 2020
    Food Quality and Preference 88 (2020). - ISSN 0950-3293
    Eye-tracking - Food choice - Self-control - Sleep-deprivation

    A wealth of cross-sectional studies found a link between sleep deprivation and food-related outcomes like energy intake and BMI. Recent experimental studies suggest that this link is causal. However, the mechanisms through which sleep deprivation influences intake remain unclear. Here, we tested two prevailing hypotheses: that sleep deprivation leads to 1) increased food reward sensitivity and 2) decreased food-related self-control. In a within-subject study (n = 60 normal-weight females), we compared outcome measures under normal sleep and partial sleep deprivation conditions. Our outcome measures were 1) proxies for food reward sensitivity – liking of high and low energy foods, 2) binary food choices ranging in level of self-control conflict, and 3) intake of high and low energy foods. Eye-movements during food choice were measured with an eye-tracker to gain insights in implicit food choice processes. Food reward sensitivity outcomes showed a lower liking of low energy foods after partial sleep deprivation. More high energy foods were chosen after partial sleep deprivation independent of the level of self-control conflict. Intake of high energy foods was higher in the partial sleep deprivation condition. Lastly, the number of gaze switches between high and low energy foods, an implicit measure of conflict in choice, was lower in the high-conflict trials after sleep deprivation than after a normal night sleep. To conclude, the increased intake of high energy foods after sleep deprivation may be driven by a decreased liking of low energy foods, rather than an increased liking of high energy foods. Further, sleep deprivation may affect self-control conflict detection as indicated by a lower number of gaze switches between food options.

    Increasing the proportion of plant-based foods available to shift social consumption norms and food choice among non-vegetarians
    Raghoebar, Sanne ; Kleef, Ellen Van; Vet, Emely De - \ 2020
    Sustainability 12 (2020)13. - ISSN 2071-1050
    Animal source foods - Availability - Food choice - Food environments - Plant-based foods - Salience - Social norms

    Increasing the relative availability of plant-based (versus animal source) foods seems promising in shifting consumption, but it remains unknown how and under what circumstances this happens. We performed two availability manipulations including different foods. The impact on food choice, social norm perceptions about what others do (descriptive) or approve of (injunctive), and salience was assessed. Non-vegetarian participants were visually (Study 1, n = 184) or physically (Study 2, n = 276) exposed to (a) four plant-based and two animal source foods or (b) vice versa. Participants chose one food item, either hypothetically (Study 1) or actually (Study 2), and reported the perceived social norms and salience of plant-based and animal source foods. The results showed no direct effects on food choice, injunctive norms, or salience. An increased proportion of plant-based (versus animal source) foods was interpreted in Study 1 as plant-based foods being less often chosen by others, whereas in Study 2, these foods were interpreted as being more often chosen (marginally significant), while animal source foods were interpreted as being less often chosen. The results suggest that a higher availability of plant-based foods influences descriptive norms, but future research should examine aspects potentially contributing to the contradictory normative interpretations (e.g., norm salience).

    General parenting and mothers’ snack giving behavior to their children aged 2–7
    Damen, Femke W.M. ; Steenbekkers, Bea L.P.A. ; Vaal, Marielle T. de; Kampen, Jarl K. ; Fogliano, Vincenzo ; Luning, Pieternel A. - \ 2020
    Food Quality and Preference 85 (2020). - ISSN 0950-3293
    Child dietary behavior - Diary research - Food choice - General Comprehensive Parental Questionnaire - General parenting - Snack

    The increasing intake of energy-dense snacks among children is one of the contributing factors to childhood overweight. To understand children's snacking habits, snack choices of parents are essential to take into account. General parenting is one of the important factors that can influence the development of healthy eating patterns and weight status among children. Therefore, this study aims to explore how the key constructs of general parenting (nurturance, structure, behavioral control, overprotection and coercive control) relate to mothers’ snack choice for their children aged 2–7 years. The Dutch version of the validated Comprehensive General Parenting Questionnaire (CGPQ) was used to assess the key constructs of general parenting. An extensive, 13-day diary study with 136 Dutch mothers was used to measure the snacks mothers provided their children aged 2–4 years and 5–7 years. For both groups of mothers in our sample, differences were found on the scores of coercive control and overprotection. No differences between the mothers were present on the key constructs behavioral control, nurturance, and structure. Results give a first indication that more mothers who scored relatively higher on coercive control provided unhealthy products, like candy and cookies, and fewer mothers provided vegetables, compared to mothers who scored lower on coercive control. A higher score on coercive control combined with a higher score on overprotection was associated with fewer mothers providing unhealthy products like cookies and candies.

    Mothers’ considerations in snack choice for their children : Differences between the North and the South of Italy
    Damen, Femke W.M. ; Luning, Pieternel A. ; Pellegrini, Nicoletta ; Vitaglione, Paola ; Hofstede, Gert Jan ; Fogliano, Vincenzo ; Steenbekkers, Bea L.P.A. - \ 2020
    Food Quality and Preference 85 (2020). - ISSN 0950-3293
    Child dietary behavior - Childhood obesity - Childhood overweight - Food choice - Geographical differences - Health

    This study describes differences in considerations and value conflicts between mothers living in the North and the South of Italy during snack provision to their 2–7 years old children. Semi-structured interviews with 20 mothers living in the North and 20 mothers living in the South of Italy were conducted. Participants matched on educational level and weight status. Mothers’ considerations in snack provision were grouped into four key themes: health-related, child-related, time-related, and product-related. North Italian mothers showed more health-related considerations while providing a snack compared to mothers living in the South. In case mothers from the South mentioned healthiness as a consideration, it was often related to giving energy. The child-related key theme revealed that a snack needs to be liked by the child, otherwise Italian mothers do not provide it. For the time-related key theme, differences were small between North and South Italian mothers. The product-related key theme showed the brand to be more important for South Italian mothers. Mothers from the North of Italy experienced more value conflicts, all related to health. The current studied showed that even within the same country, geographical differences in mothers’ considerations and value conflicts for providing snacks exist. This implies that snack choice, considerations and values seem to be influenced by tradition and family culture.

    Influence of sociodemographic factors on eating motivations–modelling through artificial neural networks (ANN)
    Guiné, Raquel P.F. ; Ferrão, Ana Cristina ; Ferreira, Manuela ; Correia, Paula ; Mendes, Mateus ; Bartkiene, Elena ; Szűcs, Viktória ; Tarcea, Monica ; Sarić, Marijana Matek ; Černelič-Bizjak, Maša ; Isoldi, Kathy ; EL-Kenawy, Ayman ; Ferreira, Vanessa ; Klava, Dace ; Korzeniowska, Małgorzata ; Vittadini, Elena ; Leal, Marcela ; Frez-Muñoz, Lucia ; Papageorgiou, Maria ; Djekić, Ilija - \ 2020
    International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition 71 (2020)5. - ISSN 0963-7486 - p. 614 - 627.
    cross-cultural survey - Food choice - healthy diet - neuronal modelling

    This study aimed at investigating the influence of some sociodemographic factors on the eating motivations. A longitudinal study was carried conducted with 11960 participants from 16 countries. Data analysis included t-test for independent samples or ANOVA, and neural network models were also created, to relate the input and output variables. Results showed that factors like age, marital status, country, living environment, level of education or professional area significantly influenced all of the studied types of eating motivations. Neural networks modelling indicated variability in the food choices, but identifying some trends, for example the strongest positive factor determining health motivations was age, while for emotional motivations was living environment, and for economic and availability motivations was gender. On the other hand, country revealed a high positive influence for the social and cultural as well as for environmental and political and also for marketing and commercial motivations.

    Youngest versus oldest child: why does mothers’ snack choice differ?
    Damen, Femke W.M. ; Steenbekkers, Bea L.P.A. ; Fogliano, Vincenzo ; Luning, Pieternel A. - \ 2020
    Appetite 144 (2020). - ISSN 0195-6663
    Birth order - Child dietary behavior - Family structure - Food choice - Sibling - Snack foods

    Young children frequently consume energy dense snacks, which is one of the factors contributing to childhood overweight. The consumption of more healthy snacks could help in meeting the dietary intake requirements of children. Previous research suggested that mothers of first children showed more health-conscious food behavior compared to mothers of not-first children. However, what is missing from earlier research is an in-depth exploration of differences in considerations to choose a snack and the reasons connected. Therefore, this study aims to characterize differences in mothers' snack choice for their youngest child at 2–3 years and their oldest child when he/she was of the same age. Moreover, this study aims to identify reasons for these differences. A grounded theory approach was used for data collection and analysis. Semi-structured interviews were carried out with 17 Dutch mothers with two or three children. All mothers indicated differences between snacks provided to their youngest child (2–3 years) and their oldest child when it was of the same age. Most frequently mentioned differences were youngest children receive unhealthy snacks at a younger age, the structure regarding snack providing is more fixed, and that youngest children receive less age-specific snacks. Most frequently mentioned reasons for these differences were role-modelling, novelty of the first-born, availability of other types of snacks at home, and school hours of the oldest child. The study provided insights into the possible role of siblings in shaping snack consumption. Results might be relevant for the development of intervention strategies to increase mothers' awareness and to help to meet children's dietary requirements.

    Development and body mass inversely affect children's brain activation in dorsolateral prefrontal cortex during food choice
    Meer, Floor van; Laan, Laura N. van der; Eiben, Gabriele ; Lissner, Lauren ; Wolters, Maike ; Rach, Stefan ; Herrmann, Manfred ; Erhard, Peter ; Molnar, Denes ; Orsi, Gergely ; Viergever, Max A. ; Adan, Roger A.H. ; Smeets, Paul A.M. - \ 2019
    NeuroImage 201 (2019). - ISSN 1053-8119
    Decision making - Development - fMRI - Food choice - Overweight

    Childhood obesity is a rising problem caused in part by unhealthy food choices. Food choices are based on a neural value signal encoded in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, and self-control involves modulation of this signal by the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC). We determined the effects of development, body mass (BMI Cole score) and body mass history on the neural correlates of healthy food choice in children. 141 children (aged 10-17y) from Germany, Hungary and Sweden were scanned with fMRI while performing a food choice task. Afterwards health and taste ratings of the foods were collected. In the food choice task children were asked to consider the healthiness or tastiness of the food or to choose naturally. Overall, children made healthier choices when asked to consider healthiness. However, children who had a higher weight gain per year chose less healthy foods when considering healthiness but not when choosing naturally. Pubertal development stage correlated positively while current body mass correlated negatively with dlPFC activation when accepting foods. Pubertal development negatively and current body mass positively influenced the effect of considering healthiness on activation of brain areas involved in salience and motivation. In conclusion, children in earlier stages of pubertal development and children with a higher body weight exhibited less activation in the dlPFC, which has been implicated in self-control during food choice. Furthermore, pubertal development and body mass influenced neural responses to a health cue in areas involved in salience and motivation. Thus, these findings suggest that children in earlier stages of pubertal development, children with a higher body mass gain and children with overweight may possibly be less susceptible to healthy eating interventions that rely on self-control or that highlight health aspects of food.

    What influences mothers’ snack choices for their children aged 2–7?
    Damen, Femke W.M. ; Luning, Pieternel A. ; Fogliano, Vincenzo ; Steenbekkers, Bea L.P.A. - \ 2019
    Food Quality and Preference 74 (2019). - ISSN 0950-3293 - p. 10 - 20.
    Child dietary behavior - Diary - First child - Food choice - Healthy snack - Maternal education

    The increasing intake of energy dense snacks by children is one of the factors contributing to childhood overweight. Mothers are mainly responsible for the foods their young children consume. Therefore, this study aims to describe snack choices and the related considerations of mothers with young children in the home environment. The possibility that snack choices and considerations are related to maternal education, childbirth order, and age groups of the children was also investigated. A food and motivation diary study with 136 Dutch mothers of young children aged 2–7 years was conducted for 13 days. Mothers reported every snack they gave to their child. Fruits, cookies and candy were the most frequently provided snacks; healthiness of the snack and child preference were the most used considerations. Considerations were grouped in six overall categories: health-related, influence of the child, habit-related, strategies, external influence and other considerations. Higher educated mothers and mothers of first children showed more health-conscious behavior. Lower educated mothers more often justified their (unhealthy) snack choice. Next to insight into the number and type of snacks provided, the empirical findings in this study provide new understanding of the considerations of mothers while providing a snack to their young children.

    Modelling consumer choice through the random regret minimization model : An application in the food domain
    Biondi, Beatrice ; Lans, Ivo A. Van der; Mazzocchi, Mario ; Fischer, Arnout R.H. ; Trijp, Hans C.M. Van; Camanzi, Luca - \ 2019
    Food Quality and Preference 73 (2019). - ISSN 0950-3293 - p. 97 - 109.
    Choice experiment - Consumer behaviour - Discrete-choice model - Food choice - Individual differences - Regret minimization

    In line with findings on post-purchase food-choice regret, one can expect that pre-purchase anticipated regret with respect to forgone (non-chosen) alternatives has an impact on consumer food choices, especially when the choice is considered to be important. The traditional Random Utility Maximization (RUM) models for discrete choices may not fully capture this impact. This study investigates the usefulness and potential in the food domain of a discrete choice model that follows the regret minimization principle, the Random Regret Minimization (RRM) model, as an alternative and complement to existing RUM models. The two models are applied to consumer stated choices of cheese in a choice experiment. The study also investigates whether and to what extent a number of personality traits determine whether particular consumers rather choose according to utility-maximization, or regret-minimization principles. Results show that at the aggregate level the two models have a similar goodness of fit to the data and prediction ability. Still, each of them shows better fit for particular subgroups of consumers, based on personality traits. Hence, the present study reveals a potential for the RRM model applications in the food domain, and adds to the empirical literature supporting previous findings on the RRM model found in other contexts. Further research is needed to explore in which situations and for which consumer segments the RRM model is the most useful model.

    Values and value conflicts in snack providing of Dutch, Polish, Indonesian and Italian mothers
    Damen, Femke W.M. ; Hofstede, Gert Jan ; Steenbekkers, Bea L.P.A. ; Vitaglione, Paola ; Pellegrini, Nicoletta ; Fogliano, Vincenzo ; Luning, Pieternel A. - \ 2019
    Food Research International 115 (2019). - ISSN 0963-9969 - p. 554 - 561.
    Child - Childhood obesity - Children's dietary behavior - Cross-cultural differences - Culture - Food choice - Mother - National culture

    This study investigates which values play a role in the decision of mothers about snacks to offer to their young children with a focus on the value conflicts that might occur. The study explores whether national culture is reflected in mothers' values in snack choice for their young children and the related value conflicts. Semi-structured interviews with 67 mothers of 2–7 years old children divided over 4 national cultures (Dutch, Polish, Indonesian and Italian) were conducted. Questions were asked about their values and value conflicts when providing a snack to their young children. Four key themes could be distinguished to cluster the mentioned values. The health-related key theme includes all values that are associated with the healthiness of the product, the child-related key theme all values that connects to the child, the time-related key theme includes the value convenience and the product-related key theme includes all values that are associated with the product itself. Dutch and Polish mothers mostly valued health of the snack, whereas Indonesian and Italian mothers mostly valued the preference of their child. Data also shows specific prevalence between values and nationalities: convenience was very important for Dutch mothers, valuing organic food was typical for Polish mothers, religion played a role for Indonesian mothers, while Italian mothers placed more value on brand compared to the mothers of other cultures. In all cultures, the value conflicts mentioned were mainly related to health.

    Using eye tracking to account for attribute non-attendance in choice experiments
    Loo, Ellen J. Van; Nayga, Rodolfo M. ; Campbell, Danny ; Seo, Han Seok ; Verbeke, Wim - \ 2018
    European Review of Agricultural Economics 45 (2018)3. - ISSN 0165-1587 - p. 333 - 365.
    Attribute non-attendance - Decision-making - Eye tracking - Food choice - Sustainability labelling

    This study uses eye-tracking measures to account for attribute non-attendance (ANA) in choice experiments. Using the case of sustainability labelling on coffee, we demonstrate various approaches to account for ANA based on the fixation count cut-offs, definitions for detecting ignored attributes, and methods for modelling ANA. Some of the sustainability attributes identified through eye-tracking measures as being ‘visually ignored’ were truly ignored, whereas in none of the tested approaches was price truly ignored. The adequacy of eye tracking as a visual ANA measure might thus depend on the type of attribute. Further, the study unveiled inconsistencies in identifying non-attenders using visual ANA and the coefficient of variation. Based on our results, we cannot conclude that eye tracking always adequately identifies ANA. However, we identified several major challenges that can assist in further optimising the use of eye tracking in the context of ANA.

    Promoting healthy choices from vending machines : Effectiveness and consumer evaluations of four types of interventions
    Bos, Colin ; Lans, Ivo A. van der; Kleef, Ellen van; Trijp, Hans C.M. van - \ 2018
    Food Policy 79 (2018). - ISSN 0306-9192 - p. 247 - 255.
    Acceptance - Choice evaluation - Effectiveness - Food choice - Intervention intrusiveness - Vending machine

    Vending machines often provide relatively energy-dense snack foods and beverages at a wide variety of points-of-purchase. Vending-machine interventions that stimulate low-calorie choices can therefore play a role in improving the healthfulness of the food environment landscape. The aim of this study is to examine the effects of four vending-machine interventions, varying in level of intrusiveness, on consumers’ choices, consumers’ acceptance of such interventions, and consumers’ evaluations of the choice they made. In a between-subjects design experiment (N = 206), respondents were asked to purchase a snack and a beverage from a vending machine. In addition to a no-intervention condition, four types of incrementally intrusive interventions were implemented: calorie labelling, increasing accessibility of low-calorie choices, increasing prices of high-calorie choices, and restricting availability of high-calorie choices. A post-choice questionnaire included items concerning intervention acceptance, and assortment and choice evaluations. Compared to the no-intervention condition, the most intrusive intervention (i.e. restricting availability of high-calorie choices) led to more low-calorie choices (39% vs. 78%), while less intrusive interventions (i.e. calorie labelling, increasing accessibility of low-calorie choices, and increasing prices of high-calorie choices) did not. Intervention acceptance and choice evaluations were equally high across the four intervention types. Overall, the results suggest that restricting high-calorie options is a promising route to stimulate healthier choices from vending machines. As such, the present study provides intervention opportunities in the combat against obesity for governments and their potential allies, such as food manufacturers and the food service industry.

    The changing role of the senses in food choice and food intake across the lifespan
    Boesveldt, Sanne ; Bobowski, Nuala ; McCrickerd, Keri ; Maître, Isabelle ; Sulmont-Rossé, Claire ; Forde, Ciarán G. - \ 2018
    Food Quality and Preference 68 (2018). - ISSN 0950-3293 - p. 80 - 89.
    Cancer - Children - Elderly - Food choice - Food intake - Neurodegenerative disease - Obesity - Preference - Sensory perception
    Sensory perception begins before birth and enables us to interpret the biological relevance of stimuli in our near environment. In early life, the senses play a crucial role in informing acceptance and rejection of foods and beverages. Food preferences develop with experience based on associations formed between a foods flavour and the consequence of its consumption. In adulthood the role of the chemical senses is often simplified into simple ‘likes’ and ‘dislikes’, but recent evidence highlights a more functional role in guiding eating behaviours and nutrition. A food's perceptual properties are important for the detection of its nutrient content and through this, guide not only food choice but also habitual energy selection and consumption behaviour. As we age and the prevalence of chronic disease increases, sensory acuity often declines for taste, smell and texture perception, and this can have an impact on food perception, preference and food intake. This creates an opportunity to apply an understanding of sensory influences on choice and intake to stimulate appetite during periods where nutrient intakes may become compromised. This paper summarises current knowledge of the changing role of the senses during infancy and early childhood, through to adulthood, older age and illness. The aim is to highlight opportunities to improve health and wellness through a better understanding of how sensory factors can influence eating behaviours and nutrition at key time points across the lifespan.
    Can food choice be influenced by priming with food odours?
    Polet, I.A. ; Vingerhoeds, M.H. ; Perez-Cueto, F.J.A. ; Wijk, R.A. de - \ 2018
    Food Quality and Preference 66 (2018). - ISSN 0950-3293 - p. 148 - 152.
    Food choice - Odour - Priming - Real life
    Recent research suggests that non-attentively perceived odours may significantly influence people's food choices. This study's aim was to examine the effects of different types of non-attentively perceived food odours, namely, bread odour and cucumber odour, on subsequent lunch choices in a real-life setting. The study was conducted using a within-participant design (n = 37, age 21–55 years). Participants took part in three sessions: two priming conditions (bread and cucumber odour) and one control condition (no odour). During each session, participants started by answering a questionnaire for20 min, in a room in which they were exposed to one of the odour conditions. The questionnaire functioned as a ‘lure’ task. Subsequently, participants were guided to the restaurant where they could choose lunch from a buffet. Besides lunch choice, sociodemographic factors, personality traits, and eating behaviour factors were assessed. Odour priming and control conditions did not affect lunch selections (χ 2 (2, N = 37) = 28.1, p = 0.46). Self-reported positive mood was significantly affected by odour condition (F (2, 72) = 3.26, p = 0.044). In conclusion, odour condition did affect mood but not lunch choice. It is therefore questionable whether an odour prime can be used as a nudge to contribute to healthy food choice behaviour.
    Considering healthiness promotes healthier choices but modulates medial prefrontal cortex differently in children compared with adults
    Meer, Floor van; Laan, Laura N. van der; Viergever, Max A. ; Adan, Roger A.H. ; Smeets, Paul A.M. - \ 2017
    NeuroImage 159 (2017). - ISSN 1053-8119 - p. 325 - 333.
    Children - Decision making - Development - fMRI - Food choice
    Childhood obesity is a rising problem worldwide mainly caused by overconsumption, which is driven by food choices. In adults, food choices are based on a value signal encoded in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC). This signal is modulated by the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC), which is involved in self-control. We aimed to examine the neural correlates of food choice in children, and how considering healthiness affects neural activity and choice behavior. 24 children and 28 adults performed a food choice task while being scanned with fMRI and provided health and taste ratings of the foods afterwards. During the choice task participants considered either the healthiness or tastiness of the food or chose naturally. Health rating was a positive predictor of choice in adults, but a negative predictor in children. Children had weaker dlPFC activation than adults during yes vs. no independent of health or taste condition. Both children and adults made healthier choices when considering healthiness. Taste rating modulated mPFC activation in both children and adults. When considering the healthiness, health rating positively modulated mPFC activation in adults, but negatively in children. Considering the healthiness increased connectivity between dlPFC and mPFC in adults, but not in children. In conclusion, considering healthiness can promote healthier choices in both children and adults, but is accompanied by an opposing pattern of brain activation in the mPFC. Since the absolute number of healthy choices remained lower in children, this suggests that children may not yet be geared to modify their choices away from their natural tendency to choose unhealthy tasty foods. Thus, this study suggests that it may be promising to develop interventions that increase children's preference for healthy food, for example by increasing the habitual consumption of healthy foods from a young age.
    The determinants of food choice
    Leng, Gareth ; Adan, Roger A.H. ; Belot, Michele ; Brunstrom, Jeffrey M. ; Graaf, Kees de; Smeets, Paul A.M. - \ 2017
    Proceedings of the Nutrition Society 76 (2017)3. - ISSN 0029-6651 - p. 316 - 327.
    Appetite - Brain imaging - Food choice - Hypothalamus - Policy - Satiety

    Health nudge interventions to steer people into healthier lifestyles are increasingly applied by governments worldwide, and it is natural to look to such approaches to improve health by altering what people choose to eat. However, to produce policy recommendations that are likely to be effective, we need to be able to make valid predictions about the consequences of proposed interventions, and for this, we need a better understanding of the determinants of food choice. These determinants include dietary components (e.g. highly palatable foods and alcohol), but also diverse cultural and social pressures, cognitive-affective factors (perceived stress, health attitude, anxiety and depression), and familial, genetic and epigenetic influences on personality characteristics. In addition, our choices are influenced by an array of physiological mechanisms, including signals to the brain from the gastrointestinal tract and adipose tissue, which affect not only our hunger and satiety but also our motivation to eat particular nutrients, and the reward we experience from eating. Thus, to develop the evidence base necessary for effective policies, we need to build bridges across different levels of knowledge and understanding. This requires experimental models that can fill in the gaps in our understanding that are needed to inform policy, translational models that connect mechanistic understanding from laboratory studies to the real life human condition, and formal models that encapsulate scientific knowledge from diverse disciplines, and which embed understanding in a way that enables policy-relevant predictions to be made. Here we review recent developments in these areas.

    Consumers’ choice-blindness to ingredient information
    Cheung, T.T.L. ; Junghans, A.F. ; Dijksterhuis, G.B. ; Kroese, F. ; Johansson, P. ; Hall, L. ; Ridder, D.T.D. De - \ 2016
    Appetite 106 (2016). - ISSN 0195-6663 - p. 2 - 12.
    Attention - Choice-blindness paradigm - Clean label - Food choice - Ingredient information

    Food manufacturers and policy makers have been tailoring food product ingredient information to consumers’ self-reported preference for natural products and concerns over food additives. Yet, the influence of this ingredient information on consumers remains inconclusive. The current study aimed at examining the first step in such influence, which is consumers’ attention to ingredient information on food product packaging. Employing the choice-blindness paradigm, the current study assessed whether participants would detect a covertly made change to the naturalness of ingredient list throughout a product evaluation procedure. Results revealed that only few consumers detected the change on the ingredient lists. Detection was improved when consumers were instructed to judge the naturalness of the product as compared to evaluating the product in general. These findings challenge consumers’ self-reported use of ingredient lists as a source of information throughout product evaluations. While most consumers do not attend to ingredient information, this tendency can be slightly improved by prompting their consideration of naturalness. Future research should investigate the reasons for consumers’ inattention to ingredient information and develop more effective strategies for conveying information to consumers.

    Designing New and Functional Foods for the Aging
    Zanden, L.D.T. van der; Trijp, H.C.M. van - \ 2016
    In: Food for the Aging Population: Second Edition Elsevier Inc. Academic Press - ISBN 9780081003480 - p. 323 - 347.
    Ageing - Consumer-led product development - Decision-making - Food choice - Functional foods - Needs and wants
    The aging population seems to be an attractive market in terms of its size and spending power. However, biological age does not provide a useful basis for marketing practice, because the group is highly heterogeneous. The present chapter builds on the general principles of consumer-led new product development to explore the development of novel foods for this diverse population of consumers. In doing this, it illustrates that relevant changes occur with age in terms of cognition, motivation, and identity, and that these may provide an entry point for effective marketing strategies. The chapter provides concrete recommendations regarding the development of novel foods for older consumers, and ends with a discussion on implications for functional food development.
    Food Decision-Making : Effects of Weight Status and Age
    Meer, Floor van; Charbonnier, Lisette ; Smeets, Paul A.M. - \ 2016
    Current Diabetes Report 16 (2016)9. - ISSN 1534-4827
    Decision-making - Development - Food choice - Neural correlates - Obesity

    Food decisions determine energy intake. Since overconsumption is the main driver of obesity, the effects of weight status on food decision-making are of increasing interest. An additional factor of interest is age, given the rise in childhood obesity, weight gain with aging, and the increased chance of type 2 diabetes in the elderly. The effects of weight status and age on food preference, food cue sensitivity, and self-control are discussed, as these are important components of food decision-making. Furthermore, the neural correlates of food anticipation and choice and how these are affected by weight status and age are discussed. Behavioral studies show that in particular, poor self-control may have an adverse effect on food choice in children and adults with overweight and obesity. Neuroimaging studies show that overweight and obese individuals have altered neural responses to food in brain areas related to reward, self-control, and interoception. Longitudinal studies across the lifespan will be invaluable to unravel the causal factors driving (changes in) food choice, overconsumption, and weight gain.

    The role of health-related claims and symbols in consumer behaviour : The CLYMBOL project
    Hieke, Sophie ; Cascanette, Tamara ; Pravst, Igor ; Kaur, Asha ; Trijp, Hans Van; Verbeke, Wim ; Grunert, Klaus G. - \ 2016
    Agro Food Industry Hi-Tech 27 (2016)3. - ISSN 1722-6996 - p. 26 - 29.
    Consumer behaviour - Food choice - Food labelling - Health claims - Health symbols - Nutrition claims

    Health claims and symbols are a convenient tool when it comes to the marketing of foods and they should, in theory, support consumers in making informed food choices, ideally in choosing healthier food products. However, not much is known about their actual impact on consumer behaviour. CLYMBOL ("The Role of health-related CLaims and sYMBOLs in consumer behaviour") is an EU-funded project aiming to study how health claims and symbols influence consumer understanding, purchase and consumption behaviour. During a 4-year period, a wide range of research studies have been conducted across Europe, in order to analyse European consumer behaviour in the context of health claims and symbols. Results of the studies will provide a basis for recommendations for stakeholders such as policy makers, the food industry and consumer and patient organisations.

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