Classic English Literature
Factors that Influence Food Habit and Culture
Besides shelter and clothing, food is one of the basic necessities of humans, but it is not just simple. Food also serves as a way for people to get together as well as to show their culture. Different cultures gave different eating habits. Thus, there are many factors that affect people’s culture and food habits. Some of the factors that affect the human food habit and culture may include some determinants such as social, psychological, religious, and even the economic influences. People’s eating habits are considered reason why they eat, their eating methods, types of food they eat, and even their method of getting and storing their foods. In this case, people’s food habits can be flexible depending on the factors that influence them, but homogenous enough in defining a person’s cultural identity.
Food Habits and Culture
People’s eating habits are being influenced by some of the social determinants. People’s eating habits and culture are constrained and formed by circumstances, which are fundamentally cultural and social (Bellisle, 2005). Different people belong to different social classes and as such, a person who belongs to a higher social class may tend to eat foods that are ideal in meeting daily food intake in terms of the nutrition. Thus, people who belong to a higher social class normally share similar culture including their food habits. Social gatherings of the elegant people involve elegant foods, which are not normally being eaten by people who belong to lower class of the society. In this case, food culture that affects people’s eating habits varies depending on their purchasing capacity.
Cultural influences also affect people’s food habits. This factor tends to lead people in their eating habits (Bellisle, 2005). That is because different cultures have different traditions that make their food preparation and consumption distinctive to their culture. In relation to their culture, some people avoid specific foods and ingredients as part of their belief. For example, people in some Islamic countries do not eat pork as part of their religious belief. There are times they do not eat at all for a period such as fasting, which is also part of their religious belief. However, a person’s cultural food influence may change (Bellisle, 2005). If a person moves to another place or country, there is a tendency that he may adopt the local culture’s eating habit. This change is somehow connected to social influence.
Social influences in terms of food habits refer to the impact, which a person or people have on another person’s eating habit (Bellisle, 2005). Even if the person eats alone, his choices on what to eat are also being influenced by the factors in is society. That is because interacting with others will develop the person’s habits and attitudes. However, quantifying such influences on food habits may be a challenge because these influences are not limited to a certain type and people may not be aware of these influences that are being exerted on their food behavior.
Psychological influence is also affecting the person’s food habit and culture. That is because the food we eat is affecting what we feel (clevelandclinic.org). Experts say that there are factors that affect people’s feeling about the food they eat. Besides, social and cultural, individual factors is also another one. The individual’s influence may refer to our personal choice of food because of various reasons such as lifestyle or health consciousness. Some individuals would choose to eat less fatty foods and turn into eating fruits and vegetables. Such choices make them feel that the foods they eat are the foods that they need in terms of their health. This is the culture in which people focus more on the aspect of food quality that quantity.
Environmental influences also affects people’s food habits and culture (Rodriguez, 2004). The environment’s influence over the food we eat is achieved because of the combined social and ecological factors. There are foods that are commonly grown on a specific region. These foods are easily available on those places, which becomes part of their local delicacies as well as their food culture. So, the families and their succeeding generations within such region learn to adopt the same culture and eating habits. However, as mentioned, this attitude may change once they transfer to another place or country. Thus, the modern technologies enable the increase of food production, which can now be easily transferred to different regions that make it more available at any time.
Relatively, technologies make the food advertisement easier than before. In this case, the advertising and media are some of the factors that could affect food habit and culture. Advertising influence people’s food choice (thefitizen.com). One good example is MacDonald’s in which their meals can be considered one of the most influential food chains in the world. This company created a food culture that shows how a food can be enticing and yet affordable. The success of their company in terms of influencing people’s food choice would not be a success without the help of media and advertising.
We may not be able to quantify the exact number of influences that affect our food habit and culture. However, it was clear that some of the major influences are the ones that are mentioned earlier, which may not be limited to our race, gender, or belief. The bottom line is, an individual’s eating habit is flexible and may not be influenced just by one factor or culture. In the end, people’s eating habit is primarily influenced by their personal food choice, which partly builds the culture that they belong to.
Bellisle, F. (2005). The Determinants of Food Choice (EUFIC). Retrieved April 6, 2014, from http://www.eufic.org/article/en/expid/review-food-choice/
Cleveland Clinic (n.d.). The Psychology of Eating. Retrieved April 6, 2014, from http://my.clevelandclinic.org/healthy_living/weight_control/hic_the_psychology_of_eating.aspx
The Fitizen (2013, April 30). 6 Factors That Affect Our Food Choice | The Fitizen. Retrieved 6, 2014, from http://www.thefitizen.com/6-factors-that-affect-our-food-choice/
Rodriguez, J. C. (2004). Eating Habits. Retrieved April 6, 2014, from http://www.diet.com/g/eating-habits