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An examination of the potential existence of ‘food deserts’ in Northern Ireland

Strugnell, C. J. and Furey, Sinead (2002) An examination of the potential existence of ‘food deserts’ in Northern Ireland. Appetite, 39 (3). pp. 227-265. [Journal article]

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Food deserts have recently (1997) been identified as a social exclusionissue in the UK. They have been defined as an area where people do nothave easy access to healthy and affordable fresh foods, particularly ifthey are poor and have limited mobility. This definition is particularlyrelevant to N. Ireland, where 32% of households do not have easyaccess to a car and having some of the poorest consumers, dependentupon social security payments. It has also seen a major change ingrocery retail distribution, with most of the large UK retailers(Sainsbury's, Safeway and Tesco) opening stores. Many have beenlocated on the periphery of towns resulting in the displacement ofindependent (smaller) retailers from town centres. This desertificationprocess has impacted upon some disadvantaged consumer groups(elderly/single parent families), marginalising such consumers. It wastherefore an opportune time to study this phenomenon in N. Ireland.Research methodology included a questionnaire (n�1094, 75% livingin urban areas), consumer focus groups (n�10), comparative shop-ping exercises in rural and urban areas (n�25), interviews with retailmanagers and consumer shopping diaries. The results indicate thatcertain consumer groups, particularly the car-less and those on lowerincomes, were excluded from an equitable shopping provision. Evi-dence suggested that some urban consumers may exist in somewhatself-imposed food deserts, exacerbated by the fact that consumers onlower-incomes shopped locally and more frequently than their highearning and car owning counterparts. Results also indicated a disparityof prices between store types and between towns. Whilst no town couldbe definitively assigned the label ``food desert'', there was evidence forareas of low provision and that access to an affordable and healthy dietwas disparate and inequitable.Aworrying trend was that this disparitywas increasing.

Item Type:Journal article
Keywords:Food deserts, social exclusion, low income, healthy, affordable
Faculties and Schools:Ulster Business School > Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management
Ulster Business School
ID Code:33509
Deposited By: Dr Sinead Furey
Deposited On:24 Apr 2018 08:15
Last Modified:24 Apr 2018 08:15

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