Adolescents' Food Choice and the Place of Plant-Based Foods

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  • Authors:
  • Hannah Ensaff
  • Susan Coan
  • Pinki Sahota
  • Debbie Braybrook
  • Humaira Akter
  • And 1 others
  • External authors:
  • Helen McLeod


A diet dominated by plant foods, with limited amounts of refined processed foods and animal products conveys substantial health benefits. This study sought to explore adolescents' attitudes and perceptions towards plant-based foods. Semi-structured focus group interviews were conducted with adolescents (age 14-15 years) (n = 29) attending an inner city school in Yorkshire, UK. Using a grounded theory methodology, data analysis provided four main categories and related concepts revolving around adolescents' perspectives on plant-based foods: food choice parameters; perceived drivers and benefits of plant-based foods; environmental food cues; barriers to plant-based food choice. In the emergent grounded theory, a clear disconnect between plant-based foods and the parameters that adolescents use to make food choices, is highlighted. Further, key barriers to adolescents adopting a plant-based diet are differentiated and considered with respect to practice and policy. The analysis offers a framework to remodel and re-present plant-based foods. In this way, it is proposed that a closer connection is possible, with consequent shifts in adolescents' dietary behaviour towards a more plant-based diet and associated health benefits.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4619-37
Number of pages19
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015