Balancing nutrition, luxury, and time constraints in food preparation choices
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine how nutritional concerns, luxurious tastes, and the value of time affect time allocation decisions for food preparation. Design/methodology/approach – A time allocation model is developed and tested with Tobit and Heckman's sample selection models using the 2003-2007 American Time Use Survey data. Findings – Individuals concerned more with nutrition or price than luxury devote more time to preparing food-cooked-at-home. High family income and long hours worked increase time allocated to food-away-from-home, indicating that a preference for luxury and the opportunity cost of time outweigh nutritional concerns. High education reduces time spent preparing food-cooked-at-home, yet increases both participation in this activity and time spent obtaining food-away-from-home, suggesting that a preference for luxury and the opportunity cost of time dominate nutritional preference. Time allocation decisions on food preparation vary greatly by race and ethnicity. Originality/value – The results of this study confirm that the time allocation decisions regarding food preparation are largely affected by an individual's luxury preference, nutritional consciousness, and the value of time, all of which are influenced by education. The findings from this study indicate factors that influence consumers' time allocation decisions regarding food choice and their current food preparation behavior, and thus provide useful insights to nutritionists, dietitians, health practitioners, and policy makers for finding better ways to improve nutritional education, food choices and dietary habits that promote healthier diets and eating habits. JEL classification: J01, J16, J22
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Volume (Year): 3 (2011)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
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