Critical review of behaviour change techniques applied in intervention studies to improve cooking skills and food skills among adults

Lynsey Hollywood, Dawn Surgenor, Marla Reicks, Laura McGowan, Fiona Lavelle, Michelle Spence, Monique Raats, Amanda McCloat, Elaine Mooney, Martin Caraher, Moira Dean

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background: Cooking and food skills interventions have grown in popularity; however, there is a lack of transparency as to how these interventions were designed, highlighting a need to identify and understand the mechanisms of behavior change so that effective components may be introduced in future work. This study critiques cooking and food skills interventions in relation to their design, behavior change techniques (BCTs), theoretical underpinnings, and outcomes. Methods: A 40-item CALO-RE taxonomy was used to examine the components of 59 cooking and food skills interventions identified by two systematic reviews. Studies were coded by three independent coders. Results: The three most frequently occurring BCTs identified were #1 Provide information on consequences of behavior in general; #21 Provide instruction on how to perform the behavior; and #26 Prompt Practice. Fifty-six interventions reported positive short-term outcomes. Only 14 interventions reported long-term outcomes containing BCTs relating to information provision. Conclusion: This study reviewed cooking and food skills interventions highlighting the most commonly used BCTs, and those associated with long-term positive outcomes for cooking skills and diet. This study indicates the potential for using the BCT CALO-RE taxonomy to inform the design, planning, delivery and evaluation of future interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2882-2895
Number of pages14
JournalCritical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition
Issue number17
StatePublished - Nov 22 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This material is based upon work supported by safefood, The Food Safety Promotion Board, under Grant No. 11/2013.


  • Cooking skills
  • behavior change techniques
  • diet
  • interventions

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