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In the context of the nutrition transition and associated changes in the food retail sector, to examine the socio-economic characteristics and motivations of shoppers using different retail formats (large supermarkets (LSM), medium-sized supermarkets (MSM) or traditional outlets) in Tunisia.
Cross-sectional survey (2006). Socio-economic status, type of food retailer and motivations data were collected during house visits. Associations between socio-economic factors and type of retailer were assessed by multinomial regression; correspondence analysis was used to analyse declared motivations.
Peri-urban area around Tunis, Tunisia, North Africa.
Clustered random sample of 724 households.
One-third of the households used LSM, two-thirds used either type of supermarket, but less than 5 % used supermarkets only. Those who shopped for food at supermarkets were of higher socio-economic status; those who used LSM were much wealthier, more often had a steady income or owned a credit card, while MSM users were more urban and had a higher level of education. Most households still frequently used traditional outlets, mostly their neighbourhood grocer. Reasons given for shopping at the different retailers were most markedly leisure for LSM, while for the neighbourhood grocer the reasons were fidelity, proximity and availability of credit (the latter even more for lower-income customers).
The results pertain to the transition in food shopping practices in a south Mediterranean country; they should be considered in the context of growing inequalities in health linked to the nutritional transition, as they differentiate use and motivations for the choice of supermarkets v. traditional food retailers according to socio-economic status.
To examine and analyse consumption changes over time of 24 food items between Sardinia and Malta.
The data were collected in 2001 in Sardinia and 2002 in Malta.
A structured qualitative questionnaire, articulated around four main themes: food supply, transformation, preparation and consumption habits, was administered by face-to-face interviews with the help of a local person. It encompassed mainly open-ended questions, which allowed us to measure factors contributing to change.
Thirty mother–daughter pairs were interviewed in each insular territory.
Despite a common trend revealing a shift away from cereals, pulses and potatoes to the benefit of meat products, fats and sugar, our results showed contrasting evolutions in food consumption between both insular societies. Fruit and vegetables, olive oil and fish, which are part of the main features of the Mediterranean diet, were among the top foods for which consumption frequency has increased in Sardinia. In Malta, besides an increase in olive oil and vegetable consumption, cheeses and desserts showed the highest increase. Along with modernity and improved living conditions, enhanced commercial availability and increased diversity of food preparation were also identified as factors contributing to food consumption changes.
Although the Sardo-Mediterranean model is evolving under the impact of modernisation, it is not disappearing. In Malta, however, modernity has led to a more sudden shift from a state of food shortage to one of affluence, but in a cultural context where the identity is no longer Mediterranean but Anglo-Saxon.
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