International Research COLLECTIVE
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Changes in family food practices: 25 year comparison
The last 25 years has witnessed major shifts in family life, especially food shopping, the provision of family meals, eating habits and meal patterns. Further, the impact of new technologies and social media on family life has been profound creating new norms of expectations and behaviours. Building on in-depth data collected on 40 families 25 years ago Georgia’s research aims to compare and contrast changes in family life and family food environments over the past quarter of century. In particular, the project will examine changes in practices and expectations in family food habits and meal patterns. It will also examine the extent to which family meals and shared mealtimes have changed in light of new technologies and social media.
Fairley Le Moal
Does eating together impact positively on family meals and mealtimes?
Research on families eating together strongly suggests that it has a beneficial effect on quality of diet of children, children’s risks of overweight and obesity, and overall family psychosocial wellbeing. However, almost all research in this area is cross-sectional and demonstrates associations rather than cause-effect relationships. Thus whether ‘eating-together-behaviours’ lead to better quality and amount of food served to family members, especially children, or whether eating together is a consequence of household food characteristics, such as more attention paid to the quality and quantity of meals, is as yet, unknown. Fairley’s research will address the question of whether eating together increases the quality of food family meals, increases the variety of food served to families, and improves overall family and individual wellbeing. This research is being conducted in conjunction with The University of Lyon.
Sharing the load
In many countries the burden of the tasks required for food provisioning for family meal fall to women. There is evidence that shared mealtimes can be stressful and difficult to arrange when the bulk of the tasks related to home cooked meals is not shared. Research in this area will examine ways in which the tasks of sharing the responsibilities for food provisioning in families may be shared. This could include the use of many recent developments in the hospitality industry, including food delivery systems (Deliveroo, Uber eats) and ready to prepare meals.