Consumer behaviours and attitudes to food

Woman shopping for organic produce in delicatessen, photo by Monkey Business Images/Adobe Stock

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Consumer behaviour and attitudes towards food in the UK and comparable countries are evolving. There is a growing awareness among consumers of environmentally sustainable and socially responsible food production, and there is evidence to suggest that this and other factors such as nutritional values, convenience, technology and food costs may be associated with the evolution of consumer trends and preferences.

Such changes to food consumption patterns can have implications for a broad range of public policy issues, from climate change and the environment, to health costs and industry. While trends in consumer choices may be frequently tracked and forecast, a fuller understanding of behavioural drivers is still needed.


Defra has commissioned RAND Europe to conduct a rapid evidence assessment of consumer behaviours and attitudes to food in the UK. The study’s aims will be to undertake a nuanced examination and evaluation of the evidence around consumer behaviours and food preferences.


The research team will carry out a rapid evidence assessment, engaging with an expert advisory group to help shape its scope, focus and coverage. The review will then be used to produce a summary of the drivers behind UK food purchasing behaviours and consumption, including an assessment of different interventions and information gaps.