Rapid review of 'moments of change' & food-related behaviours

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Executive Summary


Food behaviours are multiple and complex, ranging from which foods are purchased and how they are stored and prepared, to which foods are consumed and when, in what quantity, how frequently and with whom. As there are a range of factors influencing food behaviours, they may be susceptible to disruption from ‘moments of change’ (significant or sudden changes in circumstances or context), which result in the regular behaviour no longer being possible or desirable. Whether, and how, food behaviours develop across an individual’s life course and change in response to changing circumstances is important to understand because there may be points at which shifts to healthier behaviours can be promoted or shifts towards less healthy behaviours can be prevented. The focus of this rapid evidence review is on how safe, healthy and sustainable food behaviours are influenced by moments of change.

Moments of change can be endogenous ‘biographical’ or life-course events (e.g., having a child, retiring, serious illness) experienced by the individual (and including both planned and unplanned events), or exogenous to the individual (e.g., sudden cultural or political change, environmental hazards). They may also occur in combination (e.g. starting a new job may also be combined with moving to a new house). They are particularly significant for disrupting habitual behaviours and can also lead to changes in values.

Scopus and Google searches revealed 112 articles – employing qualitative and quantitative methods – to examine the impact on food behaviours (including food purchasing, preparation, consumption, waste, and sustainability) of moments of change, specifically: Leaving parental home, Cohabitation, Relationship transitions, Parenthood, Cultural transitions, Health related changes, Retirement, Exogenous changes, and Other transitions...
Original languageEnglish
PublisherFood Standards Agency
Commissioning bodyFood Standards Agency
Number of pages63
Publication statusPublished - 12 Aug 2020


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