Factors Involved in the Food Choices of Diners in a Kibbutz Communal Dining Room Buffet: A Qualitative Study

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Improving nutrition improves health outcomes. Eating in a catering system may provide an environment for promoting healthy dietary choices. To map the factors that shape the food choices of diners who routinely eat in catering systems, we collected and analyzed qualitative data about diners' perceptions of their food choices in communal dining rooms in three kibbutzim in Israel. From May to July 2014, we conducted in-depth, semi-structured, face-to-face interviews with 13 diners who ate at least three lunches per week in the kibbutz's dining room. Data analysis followed thematic analysis principles. Two categories of themes emerged from the interviews. In the personal context category, the themes identified were eating as a task and attempts to control one's eating. In the contextual aspects of eating in the catering system category, themes identified were eating in the dining room as a default, the characteristics of the food served, routine, and personal versus public aspects. The sub-theme of the diners' freedom of choice emerged in the two categories of themes. Diners' wishes of maintaining their freedom of choice may be an important contribution to the debate of whether catering systems should provide only healthy foods, which may jeopardize diners' freedom of choice.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1885
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - 8 Feb 2022


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