Skip to main content

Food choice motives, attitude towards and intention to adopt personalised nutrition

  • Audrey Rankin (a1), Brendan P Bunting (a2), Rui Poínhos (a3), Ivo A van der Lans (a4), Arnout RH Fischer (a4), Sharron Kuznesof (a5), MDV Almeida (a3), Jerko Markovina (a6), Lynn J Frewer (a5) and Barbara J Stewart-Knox (a6)...

The present study explored associations between food choice motives, attitudes towards and intention to adopt personalised nutrition, to inform communication strategies based on consumer priorities and concerns.


A survey was administered online which included the Food Choice Questionnaire (FCQ) and items assessing attitudes towards and intention to adopt personalised nutrition.


Nationally representative samples were recruited in nine EU countries (n 9381).


Structural equation modelling indicated that the food choice motives ‘weight control’, ‘mood’, ‘health’ and ‘ethical concern’ had a positive association and ‘price’ had a negative association with attitude towards, and intention to adopt, personalised nutrition. ‘Health’ was positively associated and ‘familiarity’ negatively associated with attitude towards personalised nutrition. The effects of ‘weight control’, ‘ethical concern’, ‘mood’ and ‘price’ on intention to adopt personalised nutrition were partially mediated by attitude. The effects of ‘health’ and ‘familiarity’ were fully mediated by attitude. ‘Sensory appeal’ was negatively and directly associated with intention to adopt personalised nutrition.


Personalised nutrition providers may benefit from taking into consideration the importance of underlying determinants of food choice in potential users, particularly weight control, mood and price, when promoting services and in tailoring communications that are motivationally relevant.

Corresponding author
*Corresponding author: Email
Hide All
1. Gibney, MJ & Walsh, MC (2013) The future direction of personalised nutrition: my diet, my phenotype, my genes. Proc Nutr Soc 72, 219225.
2. Hesketh, J (2012) Personalised nutrition: how far has nutrigenomics progressed? Eur J Clin Nutr 67, 430435.
3. Covolo, L, Rubinelli, S, Ceretti, E et al. (2015) Internet-based direct-to-consumer genetic testing: a systematic review. J Med Internet Res 17, e279.
4. Poínhos, R, van der Lans, IA, Rankin, A et al. (2014) Psychological determinants of consumer acceptance of personalised nutrition in 9 European countries. PLoS One 9, e110614.
5. Stewart-Knox, B, Rankin, A, Kuznesof, S et al. (2014) Promoting healthy dietary behaviour through personalised nutrition: technology push or technology pull? Proc Nutr Soc 74, 171176.
6. Rankin, A, Kuznesof, S, Frewer, L et al. (2017) Public perceptions of personalised nutrition through the lens of Social Cognitive Theory. J Health Psychol 22, 12331242.
7. Ajzen, I (1991) The theory of planned behavior. Organ Behav Hum Decis Process 50, 179211.
8. Stewart-Knox, B, Bunting, BP, Gilpin, S et al. (2009) Attitudes toward genetic testing and personalised nutrition in a representative sample of European consumers. Br J Nutr 101, 982989.
9. Ronteltap, A, van Trijp, JCM & Renes, RJ (2009) Consumer acceptance of nutrigenomics-based personalised nutrition. Br J Nutr 101, 132143.
10. Baudry, J, Peneau, S, Alles, B et al. (2017) Food choice motives when purchasing in organic and conventional clusters: focus on sustainable concerns. Nutrients 9, E88.
11. Kearney, M, Kearney, JM, Dunne, A & Gibney, M (2000) Sociodemographic determinants of perceived influences on food choice in a nationally representative sample of Irish adults. Public Health Nutr 3, 219226.
12. Steptoe, A, Pollard, T & Wardle, J (1995) Development of a measure of the motives underlying the selection of food: the food choice questionnaire. Appetite 25, 267284.
13. Markovina, J, Stewart-Knox, BJ, Rankin, A et al. (2015) Food4Me study: validity and reliability of food choice questionnaire in 9 European countries. Food Qual Prefer 45, 2632.
14. Milošević, J, Žeželj, I, Gorton, M et al. (2012) Understanding the motives for food choice in Western Balkan Countries. Appetite 58, 205214.
15. Januszewska, R, Pieniak, Z & Verbeke, W (2011) Food choice questionnaire revisited in four countries. Does it still measure the same? Appetite 57, 9498.
16. Fotopoulos, C, Krystallis, A, Vassallo, M et al. (2009) Food Choice Questionnaire (FCQ) revisited. Suggestions for the development of an enhanced general food motivation model. Appetite 52, 199208.
17. Eertmans, A, Victoir, A, Notelaers, G et al. (2006) The food choice questionnaire: factorial invariant over western urban populations? Food Qual Prefer 17, 344352.
18. Prescott, J, Young, O, O’Neill, L et al. (2002) Motives for food choice: a comparison of consumers from Japan, Taiwan, Malaysia and New Zealand. Food Qual Prefer 13, 489495.
19. Dowd, K & Burke, KJ (2013) The influence of ethical values and food choice motivations on intentions to purchase sustainably sourced foods. Appetite 69, 137144.
20. Chen, M (2011) The gender gap in food choice motives as determinants of consumers’ attitudes toward GM foods in Taiwan. Br Food J 113, 697709.
21. Ares, G & Gambaro, A (2007) Influence of gender, age and motives underlying food choice on perceived healthiness and willingness to try functional foods. Appetite 49, 148158.
22. Chen, M (2007) Consumer attitudes and purchase intentions in relation to organic foods in Taiwan: moderating effects of food-related personality traits. Food Qual Prefer 18, 10081021.
23. Honkanen, P, Verplanken, B & Olsen, SO (2006) Ethical values and motives driving organic food choice. J Consum Behav 5, 420430.
24. Pollard, TM, Steptoe, A & Wardle, J (1998) Motives underlying healthy eating: using the food choice questionnaire to explain variation in dietary intake. J Biosoc Sci 30, 165179.
25. Pieniak, Z, Perez-Cueto, F & Verbeke, W (2013) Nutritional status, self-identification as a traditional food consumer and motives for food choice in six European countries. Br Food J 115, 12971312.
26. Pieniak, Z, Verbeke, W, Vanhonacker, F et al. (2009) Association between traditional food consumption and motives for food choice in six European countries. Appetite 53, 101108.
27. Sun, YHC (2008) Health concern, food choice motives, and attitudes toward healthy eating: the mediating role of food choice motives. Appetite 51, 4249.
28. Verbeke, W (2006) Functional foods: consumer willingness to compromise on taste for health? Food Qual Prefer 17, 126131.
29. de Roos, B (2013) Personalised nutrition: ready for practice? Proc Nutr Soc 72, 4852.
30. Stewart-Knox, B, Kuznesof, S, Robinson, J et al. (2013) Factors influencing European consumer uptake of personalised nutrition. Results of a qualitative analysis. Appetite 66, 6774.
31. Pollard, J, Greenwood, D, Kirk, S et al. (2002) Motivations for fruit and vegetable consumption in the UK Women’s Cohort Study. Public Health Nutr 5, 479486.
32. Dressler, H & Smith, C (2013) Food choice, eating behaviour, and food liking differs between lean/normal and overweight/obese, low-income women. Appetite 65, 145152.
33. Lee, HJ, Ralston, RA & Truby, H (2011) Influence of food cost on diet quality and risk factors for chronic disease. Nutr Diet 68, 248261.
34. Steenhuis, HM, Waterlander, WE & de Mul, A (2011) Consumer food choices: the role of price and pricing strategies. Public Health Nutr 14, 22202226.
35. Lappalainen, R, Kearney, J & Gibney, M (1998) A pan EU survey of consumer attitudes to food, nutrition and health: an overview. Food Qual Prefer 9, 467478.
36. Lappalainen, R, Saba, A, Holm, L et al. (1997) Difficulties in trying to eat healthier: descriptive analysis of perceived barriers for healthy eating. Eur J Clin Nutr 51, Suppl. 2, S36S40.
37. Fischer, AR, Berezowska, A, van der Lans, I et al. (2016) Willingness to pay for personalised nutrition across Europe. Eur J Public Health 26, 640644.
38. di Santis, KI, Grier, SA, Oakes, JM et al. (2014) Food prices and food shopping decisions of black women. Appetite 77, 104112.
39. Waterlander, WE, de Boer, MR, Schuit, AJ et al. (2013) Price discounts significantly enhance fruit and vegetable purchases when combined with nutrition education: a randomised controlled supermarket trial. Am J Clin Nutr 97, 886895.
40. Wang, O, de Steur, H, Gellynck, X et al. (2015) Motives for consumer choice of traditional food and European food in mainland China. Appetite 87, 143151.
41. Hebden, HL, Chan, HN, Louie, JC et al. (2015) You are what you choose to eat: factors influencing young adults’ food selection behaviour. J Hum Nutr Diet 28, 401408.
42. Carrillo, E, Varela, P, Salvador, A et al. (2011) Main factors underlying consumers’ food choice: a first step for the understanding of attitudes toward ‘healthy eating’. J Sens Stud 26, 8595.
43. Koster, EP & Mojet, J (2015) From mood to food and from food to mood: a psychological perspective on the measurement of food-related emotions in consumer research. Food Res Int 76, 180191.
44. Hendy, HM (2012) Which comes first in food–mood relationships, foods or moods? Appetite 58, 771775.
45. Tinati, T, Pease, A, Black, C et al. (2012) Low levels of food involvement and negative affect reduce the quality of diet in women of lower educational attainment. J Hum Nutr Diet 25, 444452.
46. Williams, E, Stewart-Knox, BJ & Rowland, I (2004) Consumer perceptions of mood, food and mood-enhancing foods. J Nutriceut Funct Med Food 4, 6184.
47. Yegiyan, NS & Bailey, RL (2016) Food as risk: how eating habits and food knowledge affect reactivity to pictures of junk and healthy foods. Health Commun 31, 635642.
48. Machin, L, Gimenez, A, Vidal, L et al. (2014) Influence of context on motives underlying food choice. J Sens Stud 29, 313324.
49. Chambers, S, Lobb, A, Butler, LT et al. (2008) The influence of age and gender on food choice: a focus group exploration. Int J Consum Stud 32, 356365.
50. Teratanavat, R & Hooker, NH (2006) Consumer evaluations and preference heterogeneity for a novel functional food. J Food Sci 71, issue 7, S533S541.
51. Rozin, P (2006) Naturalness judgements by lay Americans: process dominates content in judgements of food or water acceptability and naturalness. Judgm Decis Mak 1, 9197.
52. Lahteenmaki, L, Lampila, P, Grunert, K et al. (2010) Impact of health-related claims on the perception of other product attributes. Food Policy 35, 230239.
53. Hoek, AC, Pearson, D, James, SW et al. (2017) Healthy and environmentally sustainable food choices: consumer responses to point-of-purchase actions. Food Qual Pref 58, 94106.
54. Kooijmans, A & Flores-Palacios, F (2014) Is eating science or common sense? Knowledge about ‘natural foods’ among self-identified ‘natural food’ consumers, vendors and producers in rural and urban Mexico. Appetite 81, 3743.
55. Giacalone, D & Jaeger, SR (2016) Better the devil you know? How product familiarity affects usage versatility of foods and beverages. J Econ Psychol 55, 120138.
56. Bouwman, LI, Koelen, MA & Hiddink, GJ (2007) The personal factor in nutrition communication. In Personalized Nutrition: Principles and Applications, pp. 169185 [F Kok, L Bouwman and F Desiere, editors]. London: CRC Press.
57. Brecic, R, Gorton, M & Barjolle, D (2014) Understanding variations in the consumption of functional foods – evidence from Croatia. Br Food J 116, 662675.
58. Bimbo, F, Bonanno, A, Nocella, G et al. (2017) Consumers’ acceptance and preferences for nutrition-modified and functional dairy products: a systematic review. Appetite 113, 141154.
59. Crites, SL, Fabrigar, LR & Petty, RE (1994) Measuring the affective and cognitive properties of attitudes: conceptual and methodological issues. Pers Soc Psychol Bull 20, 619634.
60. Melnyk, V, Herpen, EV, Fischer, AR et al. (2011) To think or not to think: the effect of cognitive deliberation on the influence of injunctive versus descriptive social norms. Psychol Mark 28, 709729.
61. Oliver, RL, Rust, RT & Varki, S (1997) Customer delight: foundations, findings, and managerial insight. J Retail 73, 311336.
62. Steenkamp, JE & Ter Hofstede, F (2002) International market segmentation: issues and perspectives. Int J Res Mark 19, 185213.
63. Steenkamp, JE & Baumgartner, H (1998) Assessing measurement invariance in cross-national consumer research. J Consum Res 25, 78107.
64. Hair, J, Black, B, Babin, B et al. (2010) Multivariate Data Analysis, 7th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.
65. Hu, L & Bentler, PM (1999) Cut-off criteria for fit indexes in covariance structure analysis: conventional criteria versus new alternatives. Struct Equ Modeling 6, 155.
66. Grewal, R, Cote, JA & Baumgartner, H (2004) Multicollinearity and measurement error in structural equation models: implications for theory testing. Mark Sci 23, 519529.
67. Conner, M & Sparks, P (1996) The Theory of Planned Behaviour and Health Behaviours. London: Open University Press.
68. Lindeman, M & Väänänen, M (2000) Measurement of ethical food choice motives. Appetite 34, 5559.
69. Pula, K, Parks, CD & Ross, CF (2014) Regulatory focus and food choice motives. Prevention orientation associated with mood, convenience and familiarity. Appetite 78, 1522.
70. Fisher, RJ (1993) Social desirability bias and the validity of indirect questioning. J Consum Res 20, 303315.
71. Carlson, MD & Morrison, RS (2009) Study design, precision, and validity in observational studies. J Palliat Med 12, 7782.
72. Stewart-Knox, BJ, Markovina, J, Rankin, A et al. (2016) Making personalised nutrition the easy choice: policies to break down the barriers and reap the benefits. Food Policy 63, 134144.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Public Health Nutrition
  • ISSN: 1368-9800
  • EISSN: 1475-2727
  • URL: /core/journals/public-health-nutrition
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Type Description Title
Supplementary materials

Rankin et al. supplementary material
Tables S1-S4

 Word (21 KB)
21 KB


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed