What Drives Adult Consumers to Not Consume Vegetables Research Paper

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Adults and Vegetables

Lack of Incentive Drives Adult Consumers to Not Consume Vegetables

The eating habits of adult consumers are largely determined in the formative years of growth, especially in childhood and adolescence (Fitzgerald et al., 2010, p.1). When coupled with the notion that "liking" and "wanting" are two elements that factor into the decision making process of adults who consume vegetables, the formative years may play an instrumental part in establishing what future adults will "like" and/or "want" (Finlayson, 2006, p. 37). Establishing the conditions under which tastes are developed for specific foods, therefore, may help us understand why some adults fail to consume vegetables.

Attitude Behavioral Model: TPB

As Icek Ajken (2010) states, using the Theory of Planned Behavior shows us how "human behavior is guided by three kinds of considerations: beliefs about the likely consequences of the behavior (behavioral beliefs), beliefs about the normative expectations of others (normative beliefs), and beliefs about the presence of factor that may facilitate or impede performance of the behavior (control beliefs)" (p.1). All three contribute to the intention of the subject, which is then seen in the subject's behavior. TPB can help predict the outcome of specific food-related attitudes, normative subjective norms, and perceived behavioral controls -- all of which stem from their behavioral, normative and control beliefs respectively. Behavioral beliefs, for example, give a probable estimate certain behavior (such as not eating vegetables as a child) produces a certain result (specifically, that such children do not eat vegetables as adults). It can also take into account, however, other factors that may drive adults to not consume vegetables. The application of TPB can lead to greater awareness about the necessity of vegetable consumption in adulthood for better health. If TPB can establish that an incentive instilled in children at an early age proves efficacious, researchers can apply the results of the study to raising awareness in adult consumers.

Social Determinants

Social determinants that may drive adult consumers to not consume vegetables are a lack of advertising and marketing on television: Television, for instance, has been shown to be one of the largest influences in food-related decision-making (Chew et al., 1998, p. 227), which is related to the behavioral beliefs portion of TPB: if advertising is true, fast food must be good. Other determinants such as taste (which informs the attitude developed by behavioral beliefs), peer acceptance (which informs the subjective normative belief), knowledge of benefits (which informs the control), and practices enforced by parents also may play a part (which also informs the control) (Tak et al., 2008, p. 6).

Aim

The aim of this study, therefore, is to determine through quantitative analysis which incentives are missing as determinant factors in adult non-consumption of vegetables. Since social determinants are largely developed during the formative years of childhood and adolescence, this study will inquire into the conditions surrounding the eating-habits of six adults during formative stages of their development.

Method

Sample

The six participants for this study were chosen at random from a selection of adults at the local grocer. They ranged in ages from 24 to 36, with the mean age being 30. The youngest (24) was a female college student. The next oldest were a male (26) and female (25), who had only attended university-level classes part-time and had not finished any elected field of study. A mother of three (34) was the next oldest candidate, followed by two male professionals (35 and 36).

Procedure

Each of the adults was an inhabitant of the area, and opted to take the brief examination when asked. The condition of their being selected was that of displaying a desire to participate in the study through non-hostile body language, geniality of deportment, or politeness. Possible subjects who appeared disinterested were not asked to participate.

The questionnaire was administered while standing at the point of demarcation between produce department and the rest of the grocery store. The participants who were chosen avoided the produce department upon entering the store. These individuals were the ones to whom I administered the questionnaire, which was taken while standing and was completed in a matter of moments, allowing the consumer to continue on with his or her shopping.

The Questionnaire

The Questionnaire was scaled on a score of 1-5 with 1 indicating a subject's strong disagreement and 5 indicating that he or she strongly agreed with the statement. These scores were then totaled and averaged and weighed against the initial behavior question, which attempts to focus the study specifically on what these adults' eating habits were like as children. Thus, the questionnaire links to TPB by showing the relation between behavior and intention: if what researchers like Fitzgerald et al. suggest is true, there should be a strong correlation between consumption of vegetables as adults and as children. The other questions asked will take into account other possible social determinants, which gives the study an added dimension of possibilities.

Table 1. Determinants of Consumption

Category

Question

Answer scale

Behavior

How often each week did you eat vegetables as a child?

How often each week do you see advertising for vegetables on television?

How often each week do you see advertising for all other foods on television?

Intention

Do you plan to eat vegetables regularly now?

Do you plan to buy what you see advertised?

Attitude

Outcome Beliefs

Evaluation

I believe eating vegetables most days will lead to good health.

Vegetables taste good

Good health is something I am very concerned about.

I prefer snacking on junk food rather than vegetables

Strongly disagree….Strongly agree (scored 1 -5)

Strongly disagree….Strongly agree

Strongly disagree….Strongly agree

Strongly disagree….Strongly agree

Subjective norm

Normative Beliefs

Evaluation

My friends eat vegetables

I often see advertising for vegetables

Eating the same foods as my friends is important to me

Eating what I see advertised is important to me

Strongly disagree….Strongly agree

Strongly disagree….Strongly agree

Strongly disagree….Strongly agree

Strongly disagree….Strongly agree

Perceived control

Control Beliefs

Evaluation

Eating vegetables is cheap

It is up to me to eat what I want

Saving money on food is important to me

I have enough knowledge to know what is healthy and what is not Strongly disagree….Strongly agree

Strongly disagree….Strongly agree

Strongly disagree….Strongly agree

Strongly disagree….Strongly agree

Results

Attitude toward Behavior

One in six adults who do not consume vegetables stated that he ate vegetables regularly as a child and that -- consequently -- he agreed strongly that eating vegetables was good for health. The other five intimated that the frequency with which they came into contact with vegetables during the formative years of their developing eating habits was relatively light, ranging from "never" to "every once in a while" or "once, twice a week." Those who did not eat vegetables regularly as children did not agree strongly that eating vegetables was necessary for good health. They did not strongly disagree, either. Their responses ranged from 2 to 3, with male subjects responding with the lower score and female subjects responding with the higher. Also, all participants agreed that they rarely saw advertising for vegetables, but that advertising for all kinds of other foods was nearly countless.

Subjective Norms

Testing for subjective norms revealed that adults who do not consume vegetables do have friends who consume vegetables -- though not many. Likewise, it was not very important that they consume the same foods as their friends: All 6 adults asserted an independence of mind from what their friends did. However, there was some slight awareness of the influence of marketing and advertising. Some participants felt an inclination to consume what they saw advertised.

Table 2. Attitudes toward and Behavior Regarding Healthy Eating

Category

Question

Answer scale

Behavior

How often each week did you eat vegetables as a child?

How often each week do you see advertising for vegetables on television?

How often each week do you see advertising for all other foods on television?

Mean: 2

Mean: 0

Mean: 20

Intention

Do you plan to eat vegetables regularly now?

Do you plan to buy what you see advertised?

Mean: No

Mean: Yes

Attitude

Outcome Beliefs

Evaluation

I believe eating vegetables most days will lead to good health.

Vegetables taste good

Good health is something I am very concerned about.

I prefer snacking on junk food rather than vegetables

Strongly disagree….Strongly agree (scored 1 -5)

Mean: 3 SD: 1.5

Mean: 3 SD: 1.5

Mean: 4 SD: 1

Mean: 3 SD: 2

Subjective norm

Normative Beliefs

Evaluation

My friends eat vegetables

I often see advertising for vegetables

Eating the same foods as my friends is important to me

Eating what I see advertised is important to me

Mean: 3 SD: 2

Mean: 1 SD: 0

Mean: 2 SD: 1

Mean: 2 SD: 1

Perceived control

Control Beliefs

Evaluation

Eating vegetables is cheap

It is up to me to eat what I want

Saving money on food is important to me

I have enough knowledge to know what is healthy and what is not Mean: 4 SD: 1

Mean: 5 SD: 0

Mean: 5 SD:…[continue]

Some Sources Used in Document:

"Theory-of-Planned-Behavior" 

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