Food choice motives including sustainability during purchasing are associated with a healthy dietary pattern in French adults.

Nutr J. 2017 16(1):58

Allès B, Péneau S, Kesse-Guyot E, Baudry J, Hercberg S, Méjean C.

BACKGROUND:

Sustainability has become a greater concern among consumers that may influence their dietary intake. Only a few studies investigated the relationship between sustainable food choice motives and diet and they focused on specific food groups.

OBJECTIVE:

This cross-sectional study aimed to assess the associations between food choice motives during purchasing, with a focus on sustainability, and dietary patterns in a large sample of French adults.

DESIGN:

Food choice motives were collected in 31,842 adults from the NutriNet-Santé study, using a validated 63 items questionnaire gathered into 9 dimension scores: ethics and environment, traditional and local production, taste, price, environmental limitation (i.e. not buying a food for environmental concerns), health, convenience, innovation and absence of contaminants. Dietary intake was assessed using at least three web-based 24-h food records. Three dietary patterns were obtained through factor analysis using principal component analysis. The associations between food choice motive dimension scores and dietary patterns were assessed using linear regression models, stratifying by sex.

RESULTS:

Individuals were more likely to have a "healthy diet" when they were more concerned by not buying a food for environmental concerns (only for 3rd tertile versus 1st tertile βwomen=0.18, 95% CI=0.15-0.20, βmen=0.20 95% CI=(0.15-0.25)), ethics and environment (women only, β=0.05, 95% CI=0.02-0.08), absence of contaminants (women only, β=0.05, 95% CI=0.01-0.07), local production (women only, β=0.08, 95% CI=0.04-0.11), health (women only) and innovation (men only), and when they were less concerned by price. Individuals were also less likely to have traditional or western diets when they gave importance to food choice motive dimensions related to sustainability.

CONCLUSION:

Individuals, especially women, having higher concerns about food sustainability dimensions such as ethics and environment and local production, appear to have a healthier diet. Further longitudinal studies are required to better understand how sustainable concerns may influence long-term nutritional quality of the diet.