Why don't poor men eat fruit? Socioeconomic differences in motivations for fruit consumption
Pechey R., Monsivais P., Ng YL., Marteau TM.
© 2014 The Authors. Background: Those of lower socioeconomic status (SES) tend to have less healthy diets than those of higher SES. This study aimed to assess whether differences in motivations for particular foods might contribute to socioeconomic differences in consumption. Methods: Participants (n = 732) rated their frequency of consumption and explicit liking of fruit, cake and cheese. They reported eating motivations (e.g., health, hunger, price) and related attributes of the investigated foods (healthiness, expected satiety, value for money). Participants were randomly assigned to an implicit liking task (Single Category Implicit Association Task) for one food category. Analyses were conducted separately for different SES measures (income, education, occupational group). Results: Lower SES and male participants reported eating less fruit, but no SES differences were found for cheese or cake. Analyses therefore focused on fruit. In implicit liking analyses, results (for income and education) reflected patterning in consumption, with lower SES and male participants liking fruit less. In explicit liking analyses, no differences were found by SES. Higher SES participants (all indicators) were more likely to report health and weight control and less likely report price as motivators of food choices. For perceptions of fruit, no SES-based differences were found in healthiness whilst significant interactions (but not main effects) were found (for income and education) for expected satiety and value for money. Neither liking nor perceptions of fruit were found to mediate the relationship between SES and frequency of fruit consumption. Conclusions: There is evidence for social patterning in food motivation, but differences are modified by the choice of implicit or explicit measures. Further work should clarify the extent to which these motivations may be contributing to the social and gender patterning in diet.