Current generations have been strongly influenced by mass communication and massive immigration flows, which may change local lifestyles and perceptions of inhabitants towards traditional foods and beverages (TFBs). TFBs constitute a core element of the cultural identity of a country, although some of them are losing their appeal. In this study, the authors explored the TFBs perceptions of inhabitants in nine countries to determine if their food identity is changing by analysing the TFBs most frequently mentioned by different age cohorts within a country. Six countries were found to have a distinctive core of TFBs shared across age cohorts (homogenous), whereas the remaining showed a heterogeneous pattern. Correspondence and cluster analyses usually grouped younger generations together implying higher similarities among these cohorts. Furthermore, the binary logistic regression analyses performed identified significant differences in the probability of mentioning a specific TFBs across age cohorts per country. Data collected show younger cohorts focusing on TFBs categorised as snacks and foods on-the-go, whereas older cohorts more often refer to time-consuming savoury preparations. The results suggest that lifestyles and current societal trends in food consumption, for example, convenience and healthiness, are impacting the food culture and identity of countries, and therefore play an important role in the variation of TFBs perception and consumption between age cohorts within countries. The results obtained in this study could not only be used by food policymakers and nutritionists to distinguish the current trends that are reshaping the food identity and eating behaviours of the population but also to improve or develop new dietary strategies by age cohorts in the countries studied.
- age cohort
- consumer perception
- food identity
- traditional food and beverage