Gender-specific Aspects of Food Choices

Project Management:

Dr. Pamela Kerschke-Risch

The main goal of this survey is to examine the following research question:

How and why do men and women differ when making food choices?

As “omnivores” people are theoretically able to eat all different sorts of food but in practice this is not the case. With a huge and sometimes confusing variety of food on offer, it is absolutely necessary to make choices. In the context of changing patterns in how men and women adopt roles, gender-specific factors of food choice are tremendously important. Food choices influence nutrition and are therefore relevant not only for one’s own health, but also for the health of one’s family members and/or children.

Research has shown that women generally eat more health-consciously than their male counterparts. Even children and young people exhibit gender-specific differences in their eating behaviour. For example, women eat significantly less meat than men, while their consumption of fruit and vegetables is comparatively higher. But all the studies published so far lack a convincing theoretical framework. The following research project aims at pointing to theoretically profound explanations for food choices, and it is designed to serve as a pivotal contribution to the sociology of food and nutrition.


For the study, a combination of methods is applied:

Firstly, there are qualitative semi-structured interviews conducted with women and men that subsequently are deliberately selected so that they differ in terms of their eating habits as much as possible from each other. Second, quantitative data are collected through an anonymous online survey using a standardized questionnaire.

Start: September 2012

The project is funded by the Equal Opportunity Fund of the University of Hamburg and also supported by an award from the Fund for the Promotion of Women of the WISO Faculty.