Expatriates go shopping: food and shopping acculturation

Laurence Bundy (Department of Marketing, Toulouse Business School, Toulouse, France)

International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management

ISSN: 0959-0552

Publication date: 9 October 2017



The purpose of this paper is to outline how the food acculturation of British expatriates in Toulouse (France) translates into their shopping behaviours. Having established this population’s specific food acculturation outcomes, mechanisms and motivations, it then studies their buying behaviours and shopping experiences.


This qualitative research is based on 70 semi-directive interviews of British expatriates in Toulouse. Specific emphasis was placed on facilitating respondents’ expression and analysing the wealth of their answers. The transcribed interviews were thus manually analysed.


This food acculturation process proves simpler than what seminal papers outlined, i.e. fewer acculturation outcomes, but also more complex: respondents show intertwined outcomes. The marketing channels and store formats respondents privilege in their food provisioning show discrepancies with French buyers’, and the retailers’ mix variables they particularly react to are identified, leading to managerial implications. Overall, both acculturated consumption and shopping practices display fluid behaviours.

Research limitations/implications

This paper investigates a specific situation. Research on other populations or circumstances should confirm its results, especially migrants’ acceptance and satisfaction with local marketing channels and store formats.

Practical implications

Local retailers should address the shopping expectations of this affluent target through minor alterations to their operations without antagonising the locals.


This paper’s main contribution is to extend consumer acculturation literature in two dimensions. First, by studying wealthier migrants escaping “dominated acculturation”, the paper outlines respondents’ “embraced acculturation”. Then, by extending its scope beyond consumption, to shopping experience and store selection, it bridges the gap between consumer acculturation and retailing literatures.



Bundy, L. (2017), "Expatriates go shopping: food and shopping acculturation", International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Vol. 45 No. 10, pp. 1079-1094. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJRDM-08-2016-0127

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