On being a foodie: development of the Foodie Index and association with personality and taste phenotype

Gary J. Pickering, Hannah M.G. Pickering

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    Although foodies represent an important and growing consumer segment, and the term itself is widely used in popular writings and social media, foodies are poorly described in the academic literature. Additionally, little is known regarding how ‘foodiness’ associates with personality and taste acuity, despite these dimensions being important components of consumers’ food preferences and intake. In this explorative study, we describe the development of a 12-item instrument – the Foodie Index (TFI) – comprising of four subscales: food enjoyment and interest, time investment, monetary investment, and knowledge. Overall, TFI and its subscales display good internal reliability (Cronbach's alpha and mean interitem correlation). As hypothesised, TFI scores differ between individuals and associate positively with food adventurousness (p(r) < 0.001). Responses to TFI allowed participants to be categorised as foodies (n = 185) or non-foodies (n = 188), and we assessed whether personality measures (the Adult Impulsiveness, Venturesomeness and Empathy Scale and the Big Five Inventory) and taste acuity (the PROP Taster Status and Thermal Taster Status phenotypes) differ between these groups. Compared with non-foodies, foodies are more venturesome (p(t) = 0.05), extraverted (p(t) = 0.01) and open to experience (p(t) = 0.02). PROP responsiveness did not vary with TFI scores nor differ between foodies and non-foodies. In contrast, foodies were more likely to be thermal tasters (p(χ2) = 0.005) and scores on all four subscales of TFI were higher for thermal tasters than for thermal non-tasters (p(t) < 0.05). TFI will support further research into identifying the characteristics of foodies and provide opportunities for retailers and marketers of food-related products and services to segment and more fully understand their consumers.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number104451
    JournalFood Quality and Preference
    Volume96
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022

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