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Repas familial.. © INRA, MAITRE Christophe

Dietary practices and their trends

Updated on 07/18/2017
Published on 03/17/2015

While there is no lack of information on consumer habits and nutritional intake, the data on dietary practices and eating behaviours, broadly defined, are still limited

As part of the DID'IT metaprogramme, INRA characterizes dietary practices and eating behaviours in populations :measure prevalence, analyse trends, anticipate emerging trends, study how they develop and catch on, etc.  Ultimately, the goal is to pool results from different scientific expert domains and propose a systemic analytic approach in order to have a better understanding of their complexity and how they relate to each other.

Special attention will be paid to the most vulnerable populations from a nutritional, social and economic point of view, and to populations in transition. Other particularly pertinent factors include level of education; family structure; buying habits (notably alternative options, organic products, short food circuits, etc.); how food is stored and prepared; waste management; consumption of animal products; alternative dietary practices (vegetarian, organic, etc.); and eating outside the home. Lastly, a geographical approach, comparing food habits in different neighbourhoods of the same city, or different urban or rural areas, as well as a trans-cultural or international approach comparing countries with contrasting eating habits, are interesting avenues for research. Similarly, studies will address how new sources of food supply (short food circuits, home-production) can influence dietary practices and in turn associated risks such as obesity

Age has a major impact on how dietary practices are formed, maintained and evolve.  The impact of life-changing events (marriage, birth, separation, professional milestones, moves, etc.) will be explored, as will major disruptions and changes linked to physiological or psychological state, health, or economic situation. Research must therefore strive to take a close look, at all stages of life, at the consequences of major disruptions, and identify what forces and factors drive and determine behaviour.


The metaprogramme intends to:

  • characterise dietary practices and their interactions as well as how they change;
  • describe mechanisms of formation, transmission, evolution and diffusion;
  • propose multi-disciplinary data bases and descriptive models