When we look around the world, or even closer to home, we notice that eating patterns vary a lot from one social or cultural group to another, but also from one individual to another.
This diversity is a result of culture and tradition, as well as different lifestyles and attitudes towards food. In the modern lifestyle, many find it difficult to find the time to consume a traditional diet composed of fresh ingredients and home cooked food. Because of this lack of time, modern society has become heavily dependent on convenient processed and manufactured foods, ready-meals and grabbing a bite on the move. This is a trend, which has spiralled over recent decades. Yet, today, we also notice a growing trend towards what is considered traditional and wholesome.
But, consumers’ choices are not just driven by convenience, preferences and flavours. In the modern lifestyle food is often used to make a social statement, for example about respecting animals’ rights or being proud of the cultural identity. Next to that, health issues are influencing food choices. All this means that food has moved far beyond hunger. It has become an expression of who we are and what we represent. It also means that consumer choices and attitudes are becoming increasingly complex and rational.