When Family Dining Protects Against Sweet Food Consumption… And When It Does Not

Journal of Consumer Affairs (2020)
Auteurs : Laporte M.-E., Rieunier S. & Michel G.

The World Health Organization recommends reducing sugar intake in order to improve one’s health. In this spirit, the aim of the present research is to test the impact that dining as a family has on the consumption of sweet food and to compare the results with the impact of dining alone or with friends, at home or away. A mixed-method design was employed and combines an experiment with a descriptive survey. The results show that family dining at home tends to foster healthier eating behavior by restricting sweet food consumption, while dining alone or with friends at home may lead more easily to the consumption of sweet foods. However, this protective effect of family dining does not hold outside the home. This study helps explain the apparent contradictions in the literature regarding how the presence of others influences food intake. It provides guidance to policy and business stakeholders, such as health agencies, public authorities, food and catering industries, and food distributors, on ways to reduce sugar consumption and, consequently, to improve consumers’ eating behaviors.