The objective of my PhD research is to understand the dynamics of values and value conflicts in food choice of mothers for their young (2-7 year-old) children during snacking moments in the home environment . This will be done by means of various qualitative techniques like in-depth interviews and diary research.
Young children consume food mainly in the home which makes the home an important setting for developing eating and food choice behaviors. Although the home is a relevant environment to study food choice, it is complex and dynamic due to all kinds of influences such as the availability of foods or wishes of other family members. The role of mothers seems to be especially important in affecting children’s food choice. Young children usually do not pick snacks themselves but receive a snack from their caregivers, which are often the mothers.
Eating snacks at different moments during the day is a common practice. Also among (young) children snacking is highly prevalent. One of the many factors contributing to childhood overweight is this increasing intake of high-calorie food by children including energy dense snacks Therefore, focussing on the snacking moments is relevant because there is evidence that children’s dietary behaviour and even being overweighed track into adulthood.
Especially, considerations and value conflicts mothers experience during snack choice are of interest in this research, since it has not yet been studied. Additionally, the influence of culture, parental practices and differences between siblings will be included in this research.
Results will contribute to a deeper understanding of the complex phenomena of food choice in the international scientific literature. It will give public health institutes further insights into the underlying mechanisms of snacking behaviour among young children, which can be of help in health promotion and policy making. Furthermore, results will contribute to a deeper understanding of the complex phenomena of food choice in the international scientific literature. Besides, companies can use the results to better understand mothers’ food choice for their young kids and hence to improve the product range and marketing strategies to better fit to relevant consumer wishes.