This study used attitudinal scales to investigate the nature of attitudes to diet and health in a northern European country (Central England) and a southern European country (Mediterranean France). Cross-sectional studies were conducted using self-administered postal questionnaires that were distributed simultaneously in April 2001 in Montpellier, France and Nottingham, England. A stratified random sample of 1000 males and 1000 females aged 18-65 years was generated from the electoral roll in each country. The final sample comprised England: n = 826 (58% male and 42% female; mean age=44 years) and France: n = 766 (42% male and 58% female; mean age=42 years). This study has demonstrated that the pleasurable and social aspects of eating, certain food quality issues, as well as health as a value were regarded as priorities by French respondents. On the other hand, English respondents reported that organic and ethical issues and convenience were important factors influencing their food choices. In conclusion, the two populations can be differentiated overall in their attitudes and beliefs to food choice.