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To examine consumers’ perceptions of their food environments, their food consumption patterns and preferences, and to better understand the attributes of foods that are available within food environments in Myanmar.
An exploratory mixed-methods study using a combination of focus group discussions, market and consumer surveys.
Four study settings in Myanmar were included: an upper-income township of Yangon; a lower-income township of Yangon; a middle-income township in the southern Myanmar town of Dawei; and a lower-income village in the country’s dry zone of Magway.
Thirty-two women participated in the focus groups discussions, twenty market surveys were conducted and 362 consumers (both men and women) completed food consumption surveys.
Focus group participants indicated that the availability of a diverse range of foods had increased over time, while the quality of foods had decreased. Health was seen primarily through the lens of food safety and there was an overall lack of knowledge about which foods were more or less healthy. Consumers preferred fruits, vegetables and red meat compared with highly processed snack foods/beverages. Although consumers reported low intakes of highly processed snack foods, Burmese street food was consumed in high quantities. The market surveys suggested that fresh, minimally processed and highly processed foods were available at all markets across the study settings.
Consumers are exposed to a variety of foods, of varying quality, within their food environments in Myanmar. Interventions aimed at increasing consumer knowledge regarding healthy diets and improving food safety are needed.
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