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Cultural Influences: Food Preference

Culture refers to the ideas, behaviours, attitudes, and traditions that exist within a large group of people. These ideas, behaviours, traditions, etc. are passed down from one generation to the next and are often resistant to change. Different cultures have different ideas and attitudes regarding food. The general population in the UK tends to eat meat, fish, shellfish, vegetables and fruits, but some groups have the belief that eating certain foods is wrong. For example, to Hindus the cow is a sacred animal and so beef, to them, is not a food. Jews have religious laws forbidding them to eat pork and shellfish, so these are also not viewed as food. These examples illustrate how culture influences food preference. Furthermore, there are cultural differences in the way that people eat, which again influences food preference. There can also be changes within a culture over time and in societies like the US and the UK, there has been a move towards ‘grazing’ rather than sitting down and eating meals and also an increased preference for convenience foods and takeaway meals.

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