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
- 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.
Dr Julie Barnett
I previously worked at the Institute of Food Research, Health Education Authority and University of Oxford. My expertise is in the area of public health and behavioural nutrition research, gained on a variety of projects. My research is wide ranging both in terms of topics covered (e.g. food choice, policy development, food safety) and methodologies used (e.g. qualitative, quantitative, stakeholder consultation). I have also been involved in the evaluation of health promotion programmes and developing tools for use in nutrition education.
Since my arrival in 2000, I have played an instrumental role in the success of the University of Surrey’s Food, Consumer Behaviour and Health Research Centre, securing over £5.4M of research funding, of which over £3.3M as PI. With a start-up investment of £250K in 2000, the centre has brought over £7.1M into the University.
To date I have published over 125 refereed papers, numerous non-refereed publications including 20 book chapters and have edited two booksand edited two books ("The Psychology of Food Choice" (2006) and "Food for the Ag(e)ing Population" (1st edition 2009; 2nd edition 2016).
I am one of the founding members, member of the Board of Directors (2001-2006) and was secretary (2004-2006) of the International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. The society was set up to combine interests in diet and physical activity; and to stimulate, promote and advocate innovative research and policy in the area. The society now plays an important role in fostering excellence in research in this field through its annual meetings and journal called the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity.
Richard Shepherd is an Emeritus Professor of Psychology, having retired in August 2011. He obtained degrees in Natural Sciences from Cambridge and in Psychology from Cardiff and Southampton. He was a Research Fellow at the University of Surrey and then worked at the Institute of Food Research from 1982 to 1998, initially in Norwich and then in Reading, before joining the University of Surrey as a Reader.
He has carried out research on a range of issues related to the factors influencing food choice. In particular this has involved the development and application of social cognition models to food choice issues and the exploration of the factors influencing dietary change. He has also conducted research on the perception of risk and risk communication particularly in relation to food issues. He has published widely in all of these areas of research, including editing two books.
He has directed research funded by BBSRC, ESRC, MAFF, FSA, Wellcome Trust and industry, in addition to several collaborative European projects funded by the EU. He is a Chartered Psychologist and a Fellow of the British Psychological Society. In the past Richard has been a member of the UK Food Standards Agency Social Science Research Committee, Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) Social Science Expert Advisory Group and the ESRC Grant Assessment Panel.
Dr Jo Leftwich
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.
Research groups and centres
Our research is supported by research groups and centres of excellence.