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Food poverty contributors: individual, structural or political? Examining stakeholder perspectives using interviews and nominal group technique

Emma Beacom (Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Ulster University Business School, Ulster University, Coleraine, UK) (Department of Food Business and Development, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland)
Sinéad Furey (Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Ulster University Business School, Ulster University, Coleraine, UK)
Lynsey Elizabeth Hollywood (Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Ulster University Business School, Belfast, UK)
Paul Humphreys (Ulster University Business School, Ulster University, Newtownabbey, UK)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 12 February 2021

Issue publication date: 28 June 2021

372

Abstract

Purpose

Data were collected from a range of stakeholders in Northern Ireland including consumer representatives, policy makers and public health representatives. Data collection occurred in two phases: firstly via in-depth interviews (n = 19), and secondly via roundtables (n = 4) with stakeholders (n = 36) using nominal group technique.

Design/methodology/approach

Food poverty has been identified as a significant societal and public health problem in the UK, evidenced in part by published statistics on the prevalence of food poverty, and the well-documented increase in the uptake of food bank provision. This paper presents various theoretical perspectives regarding the aetiology of (food) poverty, followed by stakeholders' opinions on the contributors to food poverty and consideration of how these align with various theoretical perspectives.

Findings

Various individual, structural and political factors were identified by stakeholders as contributors to food poverty, with income largely agreed to be the most significant contributor. Two themes of contributors were identified during analysis: micro-level and individual-level contributors and macro-level and economic-level contributors. Structural factors were most commonly cited as contributors to food poverty during both stakeholder interviews and stakeholder roundtables, followed by individual factors and political factors.

Practical implications

Understanding the contributors to food poverty can inform targeted policy action.

Originality/value

There is a lack of theoretical and conceptual literature regarding the causes of food poverty, and there has to date been limited research on the contributors to food poverty in Northern Ireland/the United Kingdom.

Keywords

Citation

Beacom, E., Furey, S., Hollywood, L.E. and Humphreys, P. (2021), "Food poverty contributors: individual, structural or political? Examining stakeholder perspectives using interviews and nominal group technique", British Food Journal, Vol. 123 No. 6, pp. 2199-2215. https://doi.org/10.1108/BFJ-09-2020-0817

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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