Australian consumer perceptions of fast food: A qualitative study

Kirsten Dunn, Phil Mohr, Carlene Wilson, Gary Wittert

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


    The consumption of energy-dense fast foods has been implicated as a causal factor in the development of obesity. The development of strategies to modify food choice behaviour requires an understanding of the behaviour and the driving factors. This study examined the rationale behind decisions to either choose or avoid fast foods. Drawing partly on the Theory of Planned Behaviour (Ajzen, 1988), a qualitative design was employed to examine the beliefs and perceptions associated with fast-food consumption within an Australian sample. Findings provided an indication that positive affective reactions to fast food, convenience, and self-serving cognitions may override cognitive analyses of the longer-term health risks associated with frequent fast-food consumption. Participant responses also suggested that most held a strong prototypic belief about what constitutes fast food that differed from their more considered, rational definition. It appears that knowledge about the health consequences of poor food choices provides little inoculation against ultimate choices with cognitive biases possibly weakening the intention-behaviour relationship.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationChocolate, fast foods, and sweeteners: Consumption and health
    Subtitle of host publicationConsumption and Health
    PublisherNova Publishers
    Number of pages14
    ISBN (Print)9781608763252
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2011


    • Attitudes
    • Fast food
    • Theory of planned behaviour


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