Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Food, culture and decision making : implications for the food supply chain in Northern Ireland
Author: Walsh, Aoibéann
ISNI:       0000 0004 5992 7409
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2015
Availability of Full Text:
Full text unavailable from EThOS.
Please contact the current institution’s library for further details.
Decision making and food choice are consumer behaviours that dominate individual lives, group interactions, and national debate. The concept of food culture is the combination of the two behaviours. A nation's food culture offers a snapshot into their consumption and eating practices through the actions taken by its people in relation to food. It represents the enduring influence of culture on consumption behaviour, which also evolves based on situational and environmental influences. In comparison to other countries and regions, Northern Ireland is not traditionally considered to have such an easily identifiable food culture. In this sense, the features of the nation's relationship with food are not widely known. The study aimed to determine the nature of food, culture and decision making in a Northern Ireland context, thereby enable the salient features of the region's food culture to be identified and the implications ascertained for the food supply chain. Based on this aim, objectives were formulated and an age-related methodology was developed. Four phases of research were conducted to correspond to four stages of the lifecycle - childhood (n=186), adolescence (n=349), adulthood (n=104), and elderly (n=31). Data collection methods included the draw and write technique, surveys, and narrative interviews. The concept of a food kulture was proposed to characterise the shared heritage that exists in relation to food choice behaviour in Northern Ireland. Food kulture is described as representing a less distinct connection between people and food, whereby unconscious markers may be observed to identify behaviour. A descriptive model of food kulture was developed highlighting the key thematic results of the study. Results emphasise the balance between decisions made which demonstrate individual choice and those reflecting cultural echoes of learned behaviour. The period between adolescence and adulthood was identified as being pivotal in the development of a food consumer who is likely to achieve a nutritionally balanced diet. A reversion to past eating habits was witnessed in the elderly sample, who introduced new foods and practices into their diet but continued to return to their personal food history. Implications for the food supply chain recognise the positive nature of the collective sample's eating habits, which suggest optimism in the continued growth of the agri-food sector. A key recommendation from the study is for increased awareness of Northern Ireland's food kulture and its impact on the sectors of the food supply chain and health promotion/nutrition education.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available