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A two-part study of takeaway foods in Manchester: a geographical investigation of the concentration of takeaway food outlets and a grounded theory study of the sociocultural experiences of takeaway food consumers

Blow, Jennifer Luise (2017) A two-part study of takeaway foods in Manchester: a geographical investigation of the concentration of takeaway food outlets and a grounded theory study of the sociocultural experiences of takeaway food consumers. Masters thesis (MSc), Manchester Metropolitan University.

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Abstract

Takeaway and fast foods take up a considerable proportion of the UK diet and the proliferation of takeaway food outlets is likely to have contributed to this issue. Food choices are shaped by many factors including the physical food environment and sociocultural factors. This study aimed to explore the physical takeaway food environment and the sociocultural experiences of takeaway food consumers in Rusholme, Manchester, quantitatively and qualitatively. The first stage of the study mapped takeaway food outlets using geographical information systems, which was then analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics. The second stage of the study explored sociocultural experiences of resident takeaway food consumers using constructivist grounded theory methodology. Takeaway food outlets were found to concentrate on primary commercial roads, major commuting routes and small shopping parades where a mixture of ethnic minorities and university students co-reside, mostly serving a mixture of American-style fast foods. Most schools, colleges and universities contained 1-10 takeaway outlets within walking distance. The findings from the grounded theory study showed a shift in individual time allocation for food preparation and a demand for fast, bulky, culturally acceptable, hot meals that are available 24/7. Large portions and low prices were important to a lower-income population and young people were particularly vulnerable to peer influence in consuming takeaway foods. This research has provided valuable data regarding locations and populations which need the most attention from local governmental initiatives and it has also highlighted that many areas will be unaffected by current initiatives. It is vital to recognise local sociocultural sensitivities that influence the food choices made by the local and wider community. The findings in this study should be utilised to inform further research, which should then collectively contribute to the evidence base for the formation of future policy regarding takeaway and fast food outlets locally and in other areas.

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