Understanding the dietary patterns and food choice reasoning of food allergic consumers


The project uses qualitative approaches to investigate the dietary patterns and food choice behaviours of food allergic consumers in order to understand the reasoning behind their food choices.  

Each participant will take part in three components: an accompanied shopping task, an interview, and a shopping basket task. 

The accompanied shopping task will involve the researcher accompanying participants to their regular supermarket. Using a ‘think aloud’ methodology we will explore what information participants use in their decision making and what information – if any – they are attending to or searching for on product labels.  This task will allow the collection of observational and think aloud data in the real-life context of the participants’ usual shopping environment. 

Interviews will then be conducted to explore how food choices are exercised when the participant is not personally responsible for food preparation – for example when eating in restaurants, canteens, or at friends’.  This will also include consideration of holidays and festive occasions. Additionally we will encourage participants to generate scenarios where they find it difficult to make food purchase choices confidently and explore the tools that would be helpful in these circumstances. 

Following the interview the participant will take part in the shopping basket task.  This will involve the participant ‘thinking aloud’ in relation to a ‘shopping basket’ of approximately ten products, each choice they face posing an allergy relevant dilemma.  This task will reveal participant reasoning behind decisions about purchase and consumption and the sorts of issues and difficulties they may encounter.


Barnett J, Leftwich J, Muncer K, Grimshaw K, Shepherd R, Raats M, Gowland H, Lucas J; How Do Peanut and Nut Allergic Consumers Use the Packet Information to Avoid Allergens?, Allergy.

Leftwich J, Barnett J, Muncer K, Shepherd R, Raats M; Food in Later Life Team (2010); The Challenges for Nut Allergic Consumers of Eating Out. Clinical and Experimental Allergy 41, 243-249.


External partners