Evaluation of the Factors that Influence Food Habits and Culture 

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People take food for the day. There is no doubt that, in the ancient human society, the major function of food was simply being the necessity for human survivals, at the time when geography was considered to be the main factor determining people’s food habit. During the intertwining of the globe, not only there are more functions attached to foods, but the interrelating relationship between food and culture becomes prominent and “food [is] able to shape one’s cultural background and personal beliefs”. In this sense, one could find the factors which cast an influence on culture make a difference in the way how people use foods.

When speaking of cannibalism, reactions will mostly be expected to be terrified and abhorrent, and be associated with “ultimate betrayal of our humanity”. However, this expectation is made on the basis of a culture where eating human flesh is extremely wrong. “If [the] culture dictates that… [the emperor is] allowed to eat human body parts, then there’s nothing wrong with that”. Cannibalism is, actually and realistically, a common practice in the natural world, higher acceptance of it could be observed in some life-threatening situations, starvation is one of them. There is more than one piece of evidence that suggests cannibalism has taken place among human beings during a famine. Therefore, although the culture and value provide the fundamental system for perspective regarding foods, great changes and desperate threats are also unavoidable factors.

A Chinese saying goes “those who live on a mountain live off the mountain, those who live near water live off the water.” In spite of the fact that the use of irrigation, land development, and other modern farming techniques is applied to enhance existing geographic factors, local eating habits are still heavily influenced by regional resources. Located in the west of the mid-latitude continent, West Europe is majorly plain in terms of terrain and has nutritive, great quality and a vast area of grass on its widespread prairies, making it ideal for advanced animal husbandry and making meat, such as beef and mutton be the main character in their cuisine. Whereas, seafood forms one of the pillars of Spanish cuisine. Spain is almost completely surrounded by sea, on the Iberian peninsula.

Average precipitation in an area is one of the geographic factors in determining local food production and habits. Wet conditions are preferred by rice crop, so East Asia has an ideal climate for growing two or three rice crops a year. As in India or southwestern America, the weather is more dry, making those areas suitable for the growth of corn and pumpkins. Whereas, there might not be a perfect environment for chilies, as chilies more like dry and hot places, so Mexico will be a more favorable choice.

Religion plays another influential role in providing guidance on what is appropriate to eat as a way for followers to demonstrate their faiths. In Islam, eating is considered a way of worship and instructions on eating are in accordance with the concept of Halal (lawful). Pork is prohibited in Islamic regions due to the belief that pork is not clean meat, being one of the Haram foods. Alcohol and products containing a trace of alcohol, such as bread products fermented by yeast. For the same reasons, not only the consumption of pork but also that of beef is frown upon in Hindu and Buddhist religions. As eating of these meats is prohibited in the ancient Hindu scriptures, the large majority of Hindus and Buddhists take an extreme attitude upon their food habit, by completely refusing to eat any meat and being vegetarians. Christians, being one of the major religions, have the ritual to pray before eating, and value eating together and sharing with each other, to show their gratitude to God for all he has provided.

In a socially horizontal comparison, economic status is also one of the constraints of food choices, as low economic status in society leads more easily to an unbalanced and unhealthy food habit. Poor populations or poor regions have more limited access to a greater variety of foods, leading to nutritional imbalance. What is more, there are findings suggesting that healthy foods are more expensive in low-income regions, making a lack of money be one cause of less intake of vegetables, fruits or wholesome foods. Embedded with social elements, eating habits are easily influenced by the diet habit by a social network.

In conclusion, foods could be separated from culture and society, and the interrelationship among them is more intricate, so what shapes society and determines the culture will influence the food habits consciously or unconsciously. The most natural factor is geographic locations as in the ancient this was the most direct factor made a society, making Japan an Island country and famous for seafood. Infused with social elements, food habits are influenced by certain religious beliefs, which provides guidance on the way people to consider what is appropriate to consume and which foods are prohibited. Apart from religion, economic capacity and social networks could make a difference on how people would use foods.


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  2. History of Spanish Food. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.enforex.com/culture/history-spanish-food.html
  3. Hughes, L. (2011, April 12). Geographical Factors Affecting Food Habits. Retrieved June 18, 2019, from https://www.ehow.com/info_8210829_geographical-factors-affecting-food-habits.html
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  6. Worrall, S. (2017, February 19). Cannibalism-the Ultimate Taboo-Is Surprisingly Common. Retrieved June 19, 2019, from https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/02/cannibalism-common-natural-history-bill-schutt/?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=Social&utm_content=link_fb20170221news-booktalkcannibalism&utm_campaign=Content&sf57633348=1

Cite this paper

Evaluation of the Factors that Influence Food Habits and Culture . (2021, Jan 17). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/evaluation-of-the-factors-that-influence-food-habits-and-culture/



How does culture influence food habits?
Culture influences food habits by dictating what foods are considered acceptable or taboo, as well as influencing how foods are prepared and consumed. This can lead to unique and diverse cuisines that reflect the values and traditions of a particular culture.
What are the 8 major factors that influence food choices?
The 8 major factors that influence food choices are taste, convenience, price, nutrition, culture, marketing, religious beliefs, and personal preferences.
What are the factors that influences the cultural foods of a country?
There are many factors that influences the cultural foods of a country. One of the most important factors is the climate. The climate influences what crops can be grown and what animals can be raised. Another important factor is the history of the country. The history influences what foods were introduced to the country and what foods are traditional.
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