Food selection behaviour of university students with food allergies and celiac disease

Laheri, Zainab orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-6826-6468, Soon, Jan Mei orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-0488-1434 and Dillon, Stephanie orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-3369-8199 (2022) Food selection behaviour of university students with food allergies and celiac disease. British Food Journal . ISSN 0007-070X

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Purpose – Food allergies (FA) and celiac disease (CD) are becoming increasingly prevalent among Late Adolescents (LA) (18–24 years). This period is a challenging developmental stage, whereby individuals transition from parental supervision to the self-management of their FA and CD. Hence, poor food selection behaviour (FSB) is common among these individuals. This study attempted to understand which factors influenced FSB in first-year university students with FA and CD.
Design/methodology/approach – A food selection survey was conducted among participants with FA and CD to determine how influential five factors (cost, taste, convenience, health and labelling) were. Descriptive statistics were conducted for the demographic results. The Mann–Whitney U test determined which factors were the most influential, along with sex differences. A comparison was made between FA and CD.
Findings – Taste and cost were the most influential determinants of food selection in both groups of participants. Labelling was the least influential factor. Significant differences were found between the sexes. Females were more likely to be influenced by cost, whereas for males, taste was a greater determinant of food choice.
Originality/value – This is the first study to explore FSB in late adolescents with FA and CD. The present study confirms previous findings in relation to the FSB of late adolescents. This study contributes evidence suggesting that individuals with and without FA and CD, are influenced by the same determinants of food selection.

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