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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton February 20, 2021

Exploring adolescents’ motives for food media consumption using the theory of uses and gratifications

  • Yandisa Ngqangashe EMAIL logo , Katrien Maldoy , Charlotte J. S. De Backer and Heidi Vandebosch
From the journal Communications


Food media have become a formidable part of adolescents’ food environments. This study sought to explore how and why adolescents use food media by focusing on selectivity and motives for consumption. We conducted in-depth, semi-structured interviews with 31 Flemish adolescents aged 12 to 16. Food media were both incidentally consumed and selectively sought for education, social utility, and entertainment. The levels of selectivity and motives for consumption varied among the different food media platforms. Incidental consumption was more prevalent with TV cooking shows compared to online food media. The dominant motives for TV cooking show consumption were companionship and entertainment, while online food media were used for a more diverse range of motives dominated by information/inspiration and social interaction. Some participants consumed food media to get motivation and inspiration to improve health and fitness (Fitspiration) while others consumed food media to watch appetizing and aesthetically pleasing food content (Food porn). The social environment in the form of friends and family as well as existing food preferences were dominant psychosocial factors for both traditional and online food media use. Future research is warranted to explore how incidental exposure and the identified motives for use relate to food media effects.


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Published Online: 2021-02-20
Published in Print: 2022-03-28

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