Differences in health and taste attitudes and reported behaviour among Finnish, Dutch and British consumers: a cross-national validation of the Health and Taste Attitude Scales (HTAS)

Appetite. 2001 Aug;37(1):33-45. doi: 10.1006/appe.2001.0414.


The Health and Taste Attitude Scales (HTAS) developed by Roininen, Lähteenmäki and Tuorila in 1999 measure the importance of health and taste aspects of foods in the food choice process. These multi-item scales consist of sets of statements, ranging from "strongly disagree" to "strongly agree", which further divide into three Health (General health interest, Light product interest and Natural product interest) and three Taste (Craving for sweet foods, Using food as a reward and Pleasure) sub-scales. Finnish (N=467), Dutch (N=477), and British (N=361) respondents completed a questionnaire which contained four components: the HTAS, a separate "paper and pencil task" of choosing a food for a snack; pleasantness, healthiness and frequency of consumption of eight foods; and the Restraint Eating Scale of the Dutch Eating Behaviour Questionnaire (DEBQ). The latter three components were included in order to validate various aspects of the HTAS. The factor structure of HTAS was found to be equal in all three countries. However, there were some minor differences in factor loadings among countries, e.g. the Natural product interest and Pleasure sub-scale items had lower factor loadings in the UK than in Finland and The Netherlands. Finnish respondents had the most positive attitude towards light products. Dutch and British respondents scored higher on all Taste sub-scales than their Finnish counterparts. Respondents' health-related attitudes were good predictors of their "healthy food choices" in the snack task and self-reported consumption. Two of the Taste sub-scales (Craving for sweet foods and Using food as a reward) predicted well respondents' self-reported consumption of, for example, full-fat chocolate bars. All the Health and two of the Taste sub-scales proved to be useful tools for characterizing consumer attitudes within and between countries.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Consumer Behavior
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison
  • Diet Surveys
  • England
  • Feeding Behavior / psychology*
  • Female
  • Finland
  • Food
  • Food Preferences / psychology*
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands
  • Self Disclosure
  • Sex Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Taste