Exploring the Role of Taste in Middle-Class Household Practices

Implications for Sustainable Food Consumption in Metro Manila and Bangalore

In: Asian Journal of Social Science

Abstract

Food consumption patterns and practices are undergoing changes in the mega-cities of South and Southeast Asia. Based on a qualitative, comparative case study, this article examines food consumption practices among middle-class households in Bangalore and Metro Manila. We demonstrate how taste preferences, shaped by and shaping food consumption practices, directly relate to increases in meat consumption, food packaging and household food waste—all areas of environmental significance. Taste preferences, which evolved over time, are explained through three inter-related dimensions: (a) the competencies involved in preparing food or eating out; (b) the material dimension of consumption, or products available in sites of food consumption; and (c) the different meanings attached to what makes for a tasty meal. The differences and similarities in food consumption practices between each research site provide insights into how food consumption practices might shift towards more sustainable pathways in Bangalore and Metro Manila, and in similar settings.

  • Ayres, R. and U.E. Simonis (1994) Industrial Metabolism: Restructuring for Sustainable Development. Tokyo: United Nations University Press.

  • Bauman, Z. (2005) Liquid life. Cambridge: Polity.

  • Beinhocker E., D. Farrell and A. Zainulbhai (2007) “Tracking the growth of India’s middle class”. McKinsey Quarterly. Available at: https://www.mckinseyquarterly.com/Marketing/Sectors_Regions/Tracking_the_growth_of_Indias_middle_class_2032 (accessed on 30 October 2014).

  • Bhavan, J.P.N. (2009) The middle class in India. New Delhi: Indian Council for Social Science Research, Institute for Human Development and Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Contemporary Studies.

  • Bourdieu, P. (1979) La distinction critique sociale du jugement. Paris: Les Editions de Minuit.

  • Braznell W. (1982) California’s finest: The history of the Del Monte Corporation and the Del Monte brand. San Francisco: Del Monte Corp.

  • Burger Chakraborty, L., M. Sahakian, U. Rani, M. Shenoy and S. Erkman (2016) “Urban food consumption in Metro Manila: Inter-disciplinary approaches towards apprehending practices, patterns and impacts”. Journal of Industrial Ecology 20(3): 559–570.

  • Daly, H.E. (1977) Steady-State Economics: The Economics of Biophysical Equilibrium and Moral Growth. San Francisco, CA: W.H. Freeman and Company.

  • Digal, L., G.D. Romo and T. Reardon (2010) “The transformation of food retail in the Philippines”. Asian Journal of Agriculture and Development 6(2): 51–84.

  • Dragsdahl, R.-C. (2016) “The practices of Indian vegetarianism in a world of limited resources: The case of Bengalaru”, in M. Sahakian, C. Saloma and S. Erkman (eds.) Food Consumption in the City: Practices and Patterns in Urban Asia and the Pacific. London and New York: Routledge, Pp. 141–157.

  • Dubuisson-Quellier, S. (2013) Ethical Consumption. Nova Scotia: Fernwood Publishing.

  • Duchin, F. (2005) “Sustainable consumption of food: A framework for analyzing scenarios about changes in diets”. Journal of Industrial Ecology 9(1–2): 99–114.

  • Evans, D. (2012) “Beyond the Throwaway Society: Ordinary Domestic Practice and a Sociological Approach to Household Food Waste”. Sociology 46(1): 41–56.

  • Evans, D. and T. Jackson (2008) “Sustainable Consumption: Perspectives from Social and Cultural Theory”. RESOLVE Working Paper 05–08. Guildford, UK: University of Surrey.

  • FAO (2004) Globalization of food systems in developing countries: Impact on food security and nutrition. Rome: FAO.

  • Fernandes, L. (2000) “Restructuring the new middle class in liberalizing India”. Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 20: 88–111.

  • Fernandez, D.G. (2000) Palayok: Philippine food through time, on site, in the pot. Makati City, the Philippines: The Bookmark Inc.

  • Fuller, C.J. and H. Narasimhan (2007) “Information technology professionals and the new-rich middle class in Chennai (Madras)”. Modern Asian Studies 41(1): 121–150.

  • FNRI (Food and Nutrition Research Institute) (2008) 7th National Nutrition Survey: Initial Results. The Philippines: Department of Science and Technology, FNRI.

  • Ganguly, Sunayana (2017) “Making sustainability palatable? Changing practices of middle class food consumption in Bangalore”. International Development Policy| Revue internationale de politique de développement [Online], 8.2 | 2017

  • Georgescu-Roegen, N. (1971) The Entropy Law and the Economic Process. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

  • Golikeri, Priyanka and Suparna Bhattacharya. (2013/2014) Bangalore: A Mall Too Many. DNA, 26 August 2013. Web. 26 August 2014.

  • Gustavsson, J., C. Cederberg, U. Sonesson, R. van Otterdijk and A. Meybeck (2011) Global Food Losses and Food Waste: Extent, Causes and Prevention. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

  • Halkier, B. (2009) “Suitable cooking? Performances and positionings in cooking practices among Danish women”. Food, Culture and Society 12(3): 357–377.

  • Harriss, J. (2007) “Cities and the new middle class in the reinvention of India. A Great Transformation?” Understanding India’s New Political Economy Working Papers. Available at: http://www.columbia.edu/sr793/PaperJHar.htm (accessed on 30 October 2014).

  • Heiman R., C. Freeman and M. Liechty (eds.) (2012). The global middle classes: Theorizing through ethnography. Santa Fe, NM: SAR Press.

  • Karanth, G. (2014) “Feeding the needy student: Auto-ethnographic reflections from South India”. Food, Culture and Society 17(3): 417–432.

  • Kearney, J. (2010) “Food consumption trends and drivers”. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 365: 2793–2807.

  • Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, B. and D.G. Fernandez (2003) “Culture Ingested: On the Indigenization of Philippine Food”. Gastronomica—The Journal of Food and Culture 3(1): 58–71.

  • Lange, H. (2016) “Same, same—but different: On increasing meat consumption in the Global South,” in M. Sahakian, C. Saloma and S. Erkman (eds.) Food Consumption in the City: Practices and Patterns in Urban Asia and the Pacific. London and New York: Routledge, Pp. 23–45.

  • Leray, L., M. Sahakian and S. Erkman (2016) “Understanding household food metabolism: Relating micro-level material flow analysis to consumption practices”. Journal of Cleaner Production 125: 44–55.

  • Matejowsky, T. (2007) “SPAM and fast-food ‘glocalization’ in the Philippines”. Food, Culture & Society 10(1): 23–41.

  • Matejowsky, T. (2013) “The Incredible, Edible Balut”. Food, Culture & Society 16(3): 387–404.

  • McCabe, M. and T. d. Waal Malefyt (2015) “Creativity and cooking: Motherhood, agency and social change in everyday life”. Journal of Consumer Culture 15(1): 48–65.

  • McKinsey (2008) “The great Indian bazaar: Organized retail comes of age in India”. McKinsey and Company. Available at: http://www.mckinsey.com/nnotfound.html?item=%2fmgi%2freports%2fpdfs%2findia_consumer_market%2fmgi_india_consumer_full_report&user=extranet%5cAnonymous&site=website (accessed on 30 October 2014).

  • Miles, S. (1998) Consumerism. London: Sage.

  • Myers, N. and J. Kent (2004) The New Consumers: The Influence of Affluence on the Environment. Washington, Covela, London: Island Press.

  • OECD/Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (2013) OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2013–2022. OECD Publishing.

  • Parfitt, J., M. Barthel and S. Macnaughton (2010) “Food waste within food supply chains: Quantification and potential for change to 2050”. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 365: 3065–3081.

  • Philippine Statistics Authority (2012) Results from the 2010 census. Available at: http://web0.psa.gov.ph/old/data/publications/pif2012_in_CD.pdf (accessed on 24 October 2014).

  • Philippine Statistics Authority (2014) 2013 Survey on overseas Filipinos. Available at: http://census.gov.ph/tags/2013-survey-overseas-filipinos (accessed on 25 November 2014).

  • Plessz, M., M. Plessz, S. Dubuisson-Quellier, S. Gojard and S. Barrey (2016) “How consumption prescriptions affect food practices: Assessing the roles of household resources and life-course events”. Journal of Consumer Culture 16(1): 101–123.

  • Reckwitz, A. (2002) “Toward a theory of social practices: A development in culturalist theorizing”. European Journal of Social Theory 5(2): 243–263.

  • Sahakian, M. (2014) Keeping Cool in Southeast Asia: Energy Use and Urban Air-conditioning. New York, London: Palgrave Macmillan.

  • Sahakian, M. and H. Wilhite (2014) “Making practice theory practicable: Towards more sustainable forms of consumption”. Journal of Consumer Culture 14(1): 25–44.

  • Salazar, J. (2012) “Eating out: Reconstituting the Philippines’ public kitchens”. Thesis Eleven 112: 133.

  • Saloma, C. and E. Akpedonu (2016) “Eating in vertical neighborhoods: Food consumption practices in Metro Manila condominiums”, in M. Sahakian, C. Saloma and S. Erkman (eds.) Food Consumption in the City: Practices and Patterns in Urban Asia and the Pacific. London and New York: Routledge, Pp. 90–106.

  • Schatzki, T. (1996) Social Practices: A Wittgensteinian Approach to Human Activity and the Social. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Shenoy, M. (2016) “Grappling with impacts: Environmental considerations around agriculture and food waste treatment in Asian cities”, in M. Sahakian, C. Saloma and S. Erkman (eds.) Food Consumption in the City: Practices and Patterns in Urban Asia and the Pacific. London and New York: Routledge, Pp. 46–68.

  • Shiraishi, T. (2004) “The rise of new urban middle classes in Southeast Asia: What is its national and regional significance?” Discussion Paper No. 04-E-011. Tokyo: Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry.

  • Shove, E. (2003) Comfort, Cleanliness and Convenience: The Social Organization of Normality. Oxford, New York: Berg.

  • Shove, E. (2012) “Habits and Their Creatures”, in A. Warde and D. Southerton (eds.) The Habits of Consumption. Helsinki: Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, Pp. 100–112.

  • Shove, E. and M. Pantzar (2005) “Consumers, producers and practices: Understanding the invention and reinvention of Nordic walking”. Journal of Consumer Culture 5(1): 43–64.

  • Shove, E. and D. Southerton (2000) “Defrosting the freezer: from novelty to convenience, a narrative of normalization”. Journal of Material Culture 5(3): 301–319.

  • Sokolov, R. (1991) Why we eat what we eat: How Columbus changed the way the world eats. New York: Touchstone.

  • Sridharan, E. (2008) “The Political Economy of the Middle Classes in Liberalising India”. ISAS Working Paper. Singapore: ISAS and NAS, Pp. 1–60.

  • Srinivas, T. (2007) “Everyday Exotic”. Food, Culture & Society 10(1): 85–107.

  • Strauss, A. and J. Corbin (1998) Basics of Qualitative Research: Techniques and Procedures for Developing Grounded Theory. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications Ltd.

  • Truninger, M. (2011) “Cooking with Bimby in a moment of recruitment: Exploring conventions and practice perspectives”. Journal of Consumer Culture 11(1): 37–59.

  • Upadhya, C. (2008) “Rewriting the code: Software professionals and the reconstitution of the Indian middle class identity”, in C. Jaffrelot and P. van der Vee (eds.) Patterns of Middle Class Consumption in India and China. London: Sage Publications.

  • Virola, R. (2009) “Pinoy middle class before the crisis!” Available at: www.nscb.gov.ph/headlines/StatsSpeak/2009/060809_rav_middleclass.asp (accessed on 2 June 2013).

  • Warde, A. (2013) “What sort of practice is eating?” in E. Shove and N. Spurling (eds.) Sustainable Practices: Social Theory and Climate Change. London: Routledge, Pp. 17–30.

  • Warde, A. (2014) “After taste: Culture, consumption and theories of practice”. Journal of Consumer Culture 14(3): 279–303.

  • Warde, A. and L. Martens (2000). Eating out: social differentiation, consumption and pleasure. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Wilk, R. (ed.) (2006) Fast Food / Slow Food: The Cultural Economy of the Global Food System. Lanham, MD: Altamira Press.

  • Wilhite, H. (2008) Consumption and the Transformation of Everyday Life: A View from South India. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

  • World Bank (2013) “Philippine Economic Update: Accelerating Reforms to Meet the Jobs Challenge”. Available at: http://www.worldbank.org/content/dam/Worldbank/document/EAP/Philippines/Philippine_Economic_Update_May2013.pdf (accessed on 22 June 2013).

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 322 250 12
Full Text Views 146 125 0
PDF Downloads 25 15 0