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Social modeling of food choices in real life conditions concerns specific food categories

Abstract : The social context of eating has a profound effect on consumption choices. Social modeling of food intake is a robust phenomenon but less is known about the modelling of food choices and modeling has mainly been studied in the laboratory. We conducted an observational study in a self-service canteen to examine whether modelling of food choice for starters and desserts occurs in a real life setting. We recorded food choices of 333 men and 211 women and those of the person in front of them along a linear buffet queue. Starters were subcategorized into salads, mixed starters (e.g. avocado shrimp mayonnaise), and cold meat, and desserts were into fruits, dairy and pastries. There was a significantly higher probability to take a starter in general (OR=2.35, IC=1.43-3.93, p=0.001), a salad (OR=2.43 IC=1.39-4.30, p=0.002), a mixed starter (OR=4.22, IC=1.84-9.5, p=0.001) or a cold meat starter (OR=7.11, IC=1.32-32, p=0.013) if the next person in the queue also took one compared to when the next person did not take one. No modelling was found for desserts which may be because almost all participants took a dessert. These results highlight that social modeling influences food choices in real life conditions and that some food categories could be more susceptible to social modeling than are others. Finally, we observed modeling both between familiar and unfamiliar participants, which suggests that social norms could be used to promote healthier eating in a range of settings including friendship groups.
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Submitted on : Monday, November 8, 2021 - 2:29:42 PM
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Armelle Garcia, Alya Hammami, Lucie Mazellier, Julien Lagneau, Nicolas N. Darcel, et al.. Social modeling of food choices in real life conditions concerns specific food categories. Appetite, Elsevier, 2021, 162, pp.105162. ⟨10.1016/j.appet.2021.105162⟩. ⟨hal-03419408⟩



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