The aim of this research is to observe and explain consumers’ preference for African food in Liverpool. By identifying the attitudes towards African food, evaluating the different factors that affect the availability and accessibility of these foods within the city, the effect of globalisation processes on food production to consumption. Three different theories have been used in this research, the Theory of Reason Action, Theory of Planned Behaviour, the Actor Network Theory and the theory of consumption. The global production network which seeks to identify the geographical spatiality involved in the network process of crossing African foods to UK. The actor-network theory is used to explain the different actors/actants in the global production network. The theories of reasoned action and theory of planned behaviour used in this research intends to explain consumer attitude, preference and behaviour towards African foods. It is however observed that African consumers tend to prefer African traditional meals but this is affected by cost, time and distance.
A combination of qualitative and quantitative research method is used to better interpret the outcomes of the result. A total of 150 respondents where interviewed from various part of the city, including students, young adults family etc. Cutting across different age groups. Owners of African food stores and restaurants were interviewed using both structured and semi-structured interview. Individuals were selected randomly, to verify interest in African foods.
The importance of food as a necessity of life goes beyond physical nourishment. Anthropologist and sociologist emphasize that food practices are prime means through which social relationships are formed. (Johnston et al 2006:272). A familiar saying goes “we are what we eat”; food links us to the rituals and recipes of previous generations, creating a network between families, wider communities, and the global trading network of producers, distributors and consumers. More so, we are transported into the world of others as we experience the tastes of unknown tradition and cultures. Food choices make profound impact on the environment, health and welfare of others, challenging the ideas of tradition and identity. Travel and immigration have also resulted in the changing and shifting of traditions over the years. National identities have been created also by food traditions in distant lands among people of similar culture and background. Food is an indicator of cultural traditions, values, and how food traditions develop and evolve over space and time. Much talk of globalisation of foods have helped in shaping traditions, cultural diversity, social and political economy of places, (Bernstein et al 1990: 9, Tinker 1997: 137, 143) however, not all kinds of food are very welcomed in some places, though may not be stated categorically, it can be observed within cities and communities most probably as result of economic policies, cultural differences, international trading policies.
Traditional food is a vital aspect of the African cultural heritage. The production processing sale and distribution of food products enhances cultural and ethnic coherence in communities.
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