Food Choices and Beliefs

Factors Influencing Dietary Preferences in Chandigarh, India


  • Suraj Das Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee
  • Priya Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee



Socio-cultural influences; food security policy; dietary preferences in Chandigarh


Food choices are influenced by a myriad factors, ranging from socio-economic to socio-cultural. Socio-cultural influences, in particular, are neglected at the policy-formation stage, hampering implementation among the target population. A culturally diverse region, Chandigarh is home to varied communities including Jats, Sikhs, Gujjars, Rajputs, and migrant groups. Hence, analyzing collective food and dietary patterns from a socio-cultural perspective helps us understand the underlying social relations that affect food choices as well as nutritional security. We utilized data from this preliminary cross-sectional study i) to explore the impacts of socio-cultural and socio-ecological factors, and ii) to examine the impact of demographic and lifestyle factors on traditional food choices and eating practices. Using a mixed-methodology approach—with a sample of 70 respondents, of which 15 were also interviewed in-depth—we identified that social and cultural norms, besides ecological factors, significantly influence dietary habits. However, demographics relating to age and gender have no significant influence on traditional food practices. Therefore, it is crucial to integrate value-based and culturally acceptable foods so as to transition to sustainable eating habits and an evidence-based, inclusive food security policy.


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Author Biography

Priya, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee

Senior Research Fellow (SRF) at Department of Humanities and Social Sciences


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