Spheres of moral concern, moral engagement, and food choice in the USA and Germany Academic Article uri icon


  • Given that researchers have demonstrated that different degrees of moral concern for valued entities (Biospheric, Altruistic, Egoistic) are linked with different attitudes and behaviors, the scope and degree of moral concern for any individual may have implications for how potential moral conflicts in the food system are navigated. We developed a measure of moral engagement in the food domain. We recruited adult subjects (N=495) from the USA and Germany. In both countries, moral engagement with food exhibited high internal reliability. In both countries, as hypothesized, we found that moral engagement around food was significantly associated with greater degrees of Altruistic and Biospheric concern. In both countries, the impact of Altruistic and Biospheric spheres of concern on dietary intake and sustainable eating patterns was significantly mediated by moral engagement with food. The data suggest moral engagement with food is an appropriate construct for investigating both the ways in which underlying value orientations are operationalized with respect to concerns in the food system, and how these values mobilize people towards more sustainable eating patterns.


  • Arbit, Naomi
  • Ruby, Matthew B
  • Sproesser, Gudrun
  • Renner, Britta
  • Schupp, Harald
  • Rozin, Paul

publication date

  • December 2017