Australian consumer perceptions of fast food: A qualitative study

Kirsten I. Dunn, Philip B. Mohr, Carlene J. Wilson, Gary A. Wittert

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The consumption of energy-dense fast foods has been implicated as a causal factor in the development of obesity. The development of strategies to modify food choice behaviour requires an understanding of the behaviour and the driving factors. This study examined the rationale behind decisions to either choose or avoid fast foods. Drawing partly on the Theory of Planned Behaviour (Ajzen, 1988), a qualitative design was employed to examine the beliefs and perceptions associated with fast-food consumption within an Australian sample. Findings provided an indication that positive affective reactions to fast food, convenience, and self-serving cognitions may override cognitive analyses of the longer-term health risks associated with frequent fast-food consumption. Participant responses also suggested that most held a strong prototypic belief about what constitutes fast food that differed from their more considered, rational definition. It appears that knowledge about the health consequences of poor food choices provides little inoculation against ultimate choices with cognitive biases possibly weakening the intention-behaviour relationship.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationChocolate, Fast Foods and Sweeteners
Subtitle of host publicationConsumption and Health
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)9781608763252
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 1 Feb 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Attitudes
  • Fast food
  • Theory of planned behaviour

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

Cite this