Food may be defined as something we consume in order to obtain essential nutrients so that we may be able to lead a healthy and balanced existence. However, this is a very narrow definition especially in the context of hospitality. Food not only provides us with essential nutrients, but also provides us with moments of pleasure, feelings of togetherness and happiness.
There are many factors that affect choice of people. A major influencing factor affecting food choice is culture. There are many other factors as well, that are related to culture, which affect food choice. These include physical environment, history & tradition, technology, economics, media and socialization. However, this paper will deal with only three of the above mentioned factors viz. the media, socialization and technology. All these three factors are linked with culture in some way or the other. Hence, in order to understand these three factors it is important that we have an understanding about culture.
Culture is a learned experience; it is acquired by people as they live their daily lives. It is not biologically determined and therefore can be modified or unlearned. Culture is a group phenomenon, not an individual one. It is transmitted from one generation to another. It may be transmitted formally or informally by verbal instruction or by non-verbal cues and through personal examples. For example, it is an Indian tradition to greet someone by folding one's hands and saying 'Namaste'. This is something that is a part of Indian culture. However, it is changing as more and more people are exposed to western influences. This shows that culture can be modified to move with the changing times.
Culture is something that is common to a particular geographic region. Sometimes, the culture of a particular region is not affected entirely by religion.