Characteristics, extent and location of ``food deserts'' in both rural and urban areas of Northern Ireland

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting Abstractpeer-review


Since the arrival of UK mainland grocery multiples there has
been a growth in peripheral shopping centres and subsequent
creation of possible ``food deserts''Ðdifficult access to healthy,
fresh foods, particularly when poor with limited mobility.
Research indicates that food deserts may exist in some areas of
Northern Ireland and may be self-imposed among urban consumers:
especially among the 32% of consumers without easy
access to a car. Questionnaire results (N ˆ 219) indicate that
402% of respondents shop at off-centre supermarkets, 785%
travel by car and 137% register perceived disadvantage with
current provision. Increasing perception of disadvantage
among consumers as distance travelled to food storesincreased.
The results have implications for the accessibility, availability
and affordability of food. Research methodology (questionnaire,
interviews, focus groups, shopping diaries and comparative
shopping exercises) substantiate this claim. We attempt to
devise an NI food desertification model. For example, lower income consumers generally shop more frequently and locally than do their higher-income counterparts and it is the former who patronise the smaller, more expensive corner shop. At the extreme of the continuum are the more affluent households
with two or more cars and greater disposable incomes - the criteria into which it is becoming necessary to fit in order to access out-of-town superstores. Food desertification has been likened to the ``food equivalent of disconnecting the
water supply'' and initiatives should be considered to alleviate food poverty and rejuvenate town centres throughout NI.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193-214
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 2000


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