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Research article2023Peer reviewedOpen access

Motives, propensities and consistencies among Swedish consumers in relation to the food choice concept of clean eating

Edenbrandt, Anna Kristina; Lagerkvist, Carl-Johan


PurposeThe purpose of this study is to explore how consumers apply clean-eating criteria to a range of food characteristics, and the extent to which individuals are consistent in how they apply clean-eating criteria across products. Further, this study investigates how the clean-eating approach relates to underlying food choice motives.Design/methodology/approachData were collected in a consumer survey (n = 666) in Sweden, where participants were prompted about the importance of a set of intrinsic food attributes of the "free-from" and "added" types, for three different food product types (bread, processed meat, ready meals). Data were analyzed using latent class cluster analysis, to explore segments of consumers that place similar importance to the food characteristics and hold similar food choice motives.FindingsClean eating can be described by two distinctly different attainment strategies: avoiding undesirable characteristics or by simultaneously approaching desirable characteristics. Notably, individuals who apply clean-eating criteria in their food choices strive for healthy, natural and environmentally friendly food, but the clean-by-approach strategy implies a stronger focus on personal health in the form of weight control.Originality/valueWhile claims and labels on food packages concerning clean eating are implemented by food manufacturers, it remains unregulated. This study provides information for future regulations on how consumers apply clean-eating criteria, and their motives thereof. Further, the results provide insights food manufacturers regarding motives for clean eating in different consumer segments.


Latent class cluster analysis; Naturalness; Regulatory focus theory; Food additive; Clean eating

Published in

British Food Journal
2023, Volume: 125, number: 13, pages: 125-145