Modelling fruit and vegetable consumption : a comparative study of two cities with high and low consumption

Piacentini, Maria Grazia (1998). Modelling fruit and vegetable consumption : a comparative study of two cities with high and low consumption. PhD thesis The Open University.



The importance of the consumption of a diet rich in fruit and vegetables, for overall health, has been highlighted by the UK government in recent years. Consumption of fruit and vegetables is considerably lower in Scotland than in other parts of the UK. Behavioural change is most likely to come about through a comprehensive understanding of the range of factors influencing fruit and vegetable consumption, and the nature of the interaction of these factors.

With variations in fruit and vegetable consumption by place and social class, this study focused on an area of low fruit and vegetable consumption in Scotland, and compared this to an area of high fruit and vegetable consumption in England, with socio-economic profile matched. The determinants of consumption, and their interrelationship, were investigated using qualitative information from focus group discussions, and quantitative data from a structured questionnaire. Multivariate models of fruit and vegetables consumption were developed, using log linear analysis, logistic regression and discriminant analysis.

The models developed identified significant differences between fruit and vegetable consumption behaviour. Fruit consumption was mainly influenced by sociodemographic variables,in particulars mokers tatus. The impact of place and social class was substantial, when these variables were considered in interaction with the other socio-demographic variables. In contrast, vegetable consumption was influenced by motivational and attitudinal factors. Of these, the extent to which vegetables satisfied `convenience' expectations, and `hedonic motivations' were the most important influences, critical to vegetable consumption. The findings also suggest that the development of a generic model of food choice may not be an achievable goal, since the models of these two (similar) foodstuffs are so different. Strategies to promote fruit and vegetable consumption, must address the different characteristics, and priorities, of low fruit and vegetable consumers.

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