Factors influencing food choices of food-allergic consumers: findings from focus groups

Background & Summary: Forty six adults participated in a focus group investigating factors that influence food choice. Participants were either: diagnosed with food allergy (IgE – immediate), self-reported food allergy/intolerance or had no food allergy concerns. The restricted diet participants, particularly those with diagnosed food allergy, were more likely to feel their diet was not emotionally satisfying. Some expressed concerns that choosing safe foods really limited their diet and that food preparation was a burdensome task.

Application to Dietetic Practice: With clients on a restricted diet, dietitians should address many issues beyond, “what to avoid”. Ideas to simplify food shopping/preparation, alternative food choices and finding pleasure in eating would be helpful.

The questions used to guide the focus group discussions (Table 1) could also be used as a group counselling tool. For example, a dietitian could facilitate a group discussion with members of a local celiac support group. When difficulties are expressed, other participants and the dietitian could offer suggestions. This may be an effective way for private practice dietitians to connect with clients that need more individualized counseling.
Pub Med ID: 22913718

Posted in: Winter2013-Research