A comparative study of American and Chinese college students’ motives for food choice
Previous cross-cultural research has examined college students' food choice decisions in different countries. The current study aimed to add to the literature by examining similarities and differences in motives for food choice between American (N = 328) and Chinese (N = 333) college students. The Food Choice Questionnaire (FCQ) was used to measure the participants' motives for food choice. Students’ perceptions on the importance of diet and on their body satisfaction were also obtained. Results show that, while there are many similarities between the two cultural groups on the FCQ items, there are also significant differences. Specifically, the two groups view sensory appeal, weight, health, mood, and familiarity in a similar way, but the American participants score higher on price and convenience whereas the Chinese score higher on natural content and ethical concerns. We believe contextual cultural factors of each country may be related to these results. Women view sensory appeal and weight as significantly more important than men. Interactions between culture and gender are also found. For example, American women score significantly higher than American men on mood whereas there is no gender difference in the Chinese group; on the other hand, Chinese men score significantly higher on price than Chinese women whereas there is no gender difference in the American group.
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