British Journal of Nutrition

Research Article

Emotions generated by meat and other food products in women

S. Rousseta1 c1, V. Deissa2, E. Juillarda2, P. Schlicha3 and S. Droit-Voleta4

a1 Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, Laboratoire de Nutrition Humaine, BP 321, 58 rue Montalembert, 63009 Clermont-Ferrand Cedex 1, France

a2 Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, Station de Recherches sur la Viande, Theix, 63122, Saint Genès Champanelle, France

a3 Centre Européen des Sciences du Goût, 15 rue Hugues Picardet, 21000 Dijon, France

a4 Laboratoire de Psychologie Sociale et Cognitive, UMR 6024 CNRS, 34 Avenue Carnot, 63000 Clermont-Ferrand, France


Eating behaviour depends partly on food preference, which is itself determined by different types of emotions. Among the emotions generated by food, disgust with red meat is common in women and can lead to reduced meat consumption. We tested the hypothesis that low meat intake is related to different negative emotions towards meat but does not affect the emotions expressed towards other food categories. Food intake of sixty women was followed throughout each day for 1 week and allowed us to assign women to two groups (low v. high meat-eating women). They were then invited to assess the intensity of twenty-six emotions described by words and induced by thirty food pictures. We determined the number of necessary dimensions to describe the space created by the twenty-six words. The results showed differences in emotions between the low and high meat-eating women. As expected, there were overall differences in the emotions generated by the thirty food pictures. Six clusters of emotions were necessary and sufficient to summarise the emotional space. These dimensions were described by ‘disappointment’, ‘satisfaction’, ‘guilt’, ‘doubt’, ‘amused’ and ‘indifference’. As expected, the low meat-eating women felt more ‘disappointment’, ‘indifference’ and less ‘satisfaction’ towards meat than did the high meat-eating women. However, the low meat-eating women also stated other negative emotions such as ‘doubt’ towards some starchy foods. The only foods that they liked more than high meat-eating women were pears and French beans. In conclusion, low meat consumption was associated with specific negative emotions regarding meat and other foods.

(Received November 02 2004)

(Revised June 03 2005)

(Accepted June 06 2005)


c1 *Corresponding author: Dr S. Rousset, fax +33 4 73 60 82 50, email