1.1.- Convergence and divergence in food in Europe
It is common to consider that European food models are increasingly homogeneous, diluting the differences and moving towards a diet that is standardized and controlled by the large agro-food industries. Although it is true that globalization has definitely reached the food market, giving rise to a strong tendency to homogenize food behaviour, it is also the case that there are not enough comparative studies to allow us to confirm this fact. Food cultures, in particular Mediterranean diets, continue to be a reference for action in the countries of southern Europe.
1.2.- Food standards and disruption
Several studies have shown that food choices are individualized in an increasingly global market. This is associated with a weakening of the social constraints that govern eating habits, leading to a situation of anomie (lack of normative references) that is conveniently replaced by the food recommendations of institutions. Food is getting worse, but the measures to stop this deterioration create a situation of informational confusion that does not enable correct action. Although various studies confirm these tendencies towards individualization and destructuring of food culture, many others hint that this does not directly translate into an anomic vacuum, but rather into the perpetuation and/or alternation of other rules that are less rigid, more flexible and plural than the previous ones.
1.3.- The rhythms associated with food in modern societies
It is considered that work is the axis that regulates the rest of life’s rhythms and that, in modern societies, daily life is organized around work activities. This distorts other activities and the rhythm of daily life, in particular the organization of the home and meals that take place either inside or outside the home. With food and eating subordinated to the work schedules of each of the family members, there would be a consequent break in their shared meal times. As the planning, purchase, and preparation of food requires a lot of time, work rhythms are affecting daily eating in different ways, replacing the lack of time with what the market offers (products with some type of preparation), resorting to alternative arrangements (eating out or taking food to work), or delegating food to other institutions (school or company canteens).