Werner, Aspasia Spiller, Achim Meyerding, Stephan G. H.
Year of Publication:
GlobalFood Discussion Papers 134
Unsustainable food choice and dietary behaviors put pressure on ecosystems and supply chain structures worldwide. Knowledge on the intrinsic values driving food consumption behavior are, therefore, essential in order to foster sustainability on a global, national and community based level. This study aims at exploring the relationship between different food consumption related behaviors and the intrinsic value shaping constructs of spirituality and mindfulness. Online questionnaire data on self-reported dietary behavior, self-reported food choice behavior, spirituality, and mindfulness were drawn from a population subsample in India and the United States of America. Factorial relationships between spirituality and mindfulness traits were explored using exploratory factor analysis (EFA). Furthermore, multiple regression analysis was performed to estimate the effect of the derived factor structures on different food choice and dietary behavior variables. The EFA resulted in 4 factors, of which two each frame spirituality and mindfulness. These factors are: (1) supernatural spirituality, (2) natural spirituality, (3) supportive mindset, and (4) scattered mindset. In both country data sets, factors 2 and 3 had significant adverse effects on the consumption of convenience foods and a positive effect on the consumers' dietary awareness. Even though ambiguities exist concerning important dietary sustainability measures, e.g. the consumption of animal-protein based foods, this research reinforces the value of spirituality and spiritual practice measures for sustainability research, especially for consumer sciences. Further elaboration and application of these concepts may proof valuable for various stakeholders involved as they point to a more integral aspect of human psychology and behavior.