Cultural differences in food consumption: The experiences of international students
There is a great variety of foods eaten. It is obvious that foods play a very important role in the daily lives of individual nations. Foods and meals, however, serve not only the living, but also fulfil other functions in the given society. For example, food expression may be part of a social class, reveal income conditions, and express identity.
The investigation was carried out on the topic by a qualitative method, in the form of an in-depth interview. The interviews were conducted by master students of the Szent István University in the framework of Multicultural Management subject, with non-Hungarian origin. A total of 65 in-depth interviews were conducted between 2017 and 2018. Interviewees were members of 22 nationalities. During the investigations, the main questions were: What type of food do you consume the most? What factors do you take into consideration when choosing foods? What differences do you find in the habits of the different ethnic groups, especially with regard to their eating habits?
Most of the interviewees are interested in compare their diet and cultural traditions to other nations’ and prefer local foods. The study proved that eating habits in Hungary have an impact on the eating habits of foreign students, and they change them in several elements. The study found that dietary choices are a complex decision that has a significant environmental and social impact but need to say, thanks to the strong cultural background the students can keep their sustainable eating values in abroad.
Keywords: culture, food choice, consumption
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