Food habits are undergoing profound changes owing to the social, economic and technological transformations. The purpose of this paper is to analyse the evolution of the food patterns of generation X in the past decade, in view of formulating a reflection on the trends of a fundamental component of society.
Applying latent class clustering to the food spending of a representative sample of Italian consumers has made it possible to identify the principal food patterns and to interpret them in light of demographic characteristics and sociocultural changes.
The results show a strengthening of dietary lifestyles displaying a high content of animal proteins, especially in consumers with low levels of education. The importance of convenience foods emerges, mainly among couples but also among families with children. The role of out of the home consumptions grows, mostly among single males. Parallel to this critical picture, the authors note the birth of a new dietary sensitivity that leads a niche of consumers to choose healthier foods. These evolutions offer new challenges and new opportunities for both public and private operators.
The study is limited to the analysis of family food spending. A challenging development of the study unfolds in closely examining the food choices of individuals, particularly for the consumption patterns at greater risk. Extending the study to other countries would permit a comparison between diet, lifestyles and food education policies on a supernational level.
The study indicates several possible strategies both for operators of the food sector to better respond to the demand, and for public institutions in view of contributing to correct current trends, reorienting food habits towards healthier patterns and, in any event, patterns compatible with the demands tied to the new lifestyles.
Casini, L., Contini, C., Romano, C. and Scozzafava, G. (2015), "Trends in food consumptions: what is happening to generation X?", British Food Journal, Vol. 117 No. 2, pp. 705-718. https://doi.org/10.1108/BFJ-10-2013-0283
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