French consumers know the benefits of pulses, but do not choose them: An exploratory study combining indirect and direct approaches

Appetite. 2019 Oct 1;141:104311. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2019.06.003. Epub 2019 Jun 5.


Pulses present nutritional advantages for human health, and also contribute to food security and environmental sustainability. Despite these beneficial properties, the consumption of pulses in France has decreased over the past century. This study explores the representation of pulses among French non-vegetarian consumers, using both an indirect approach, with scenarios evoking real-life situations, and a direct approach, with an online questionnaire. For the indirect approach, based on six different scenarios, the 120 participants composed dishes by selecting three food images out of the twenty provided. One week later, for the direct approach, the same participants completed a questionnaire, with ten questions about food products, using the same images. Results showed that spontaneous selection of pulses was low for all dish-composition situations, coherent with the low consumption of pulses declared in the questionnaire. Among possible barriers to pulse consumption were dislike of pulses, preparation difficulty, and perception of pulses as a food for vegetarians. Participants possessed theoretical knowledge about the benefits of pulses, but this knowledge seemed not to be applied to dish-composition situations. Results also highlighted the complementarity of these two methods, providing deeper understanding of consumer food habits in relation to pulses. Based on these findings, several levers are proposed to increase pulse consumption: improving familiarity with pulses, using the context of consumption, formulating trendy and innovative products, and promoting pulses as a "food for all".

Keywords: Evoked context; Food choice intentions; Indirect measure; Pulses; Representations; Scenario.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Diet
  • Fabaceae*
  • Female
  • Food Preferences*
  • France
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nutritive Value
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Vegetables