This study aims to explore the values, resilience and innovation of four food businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic and their responses to the chaotic environment they find themselves in. It also evaluates whether there is evidence of a thriving food in tourism environment propelling these businesses forward within an innovative regenerative tourism system.
A descriptive and comparative case study approach is used using a holistic design with four in-depth interviews for each business over 18 months. A thematic analysis of the qualitative data provides answers to the key research questions and informs our understanding of the ecosystems in which food businesses reside.
The findings indicate that an internal business ecosystem with a strong value base and effective networks across a range of stakeholders enhances resilience. The crisis refocused and stimulated a variety of innovations.
An ethos of collaboration and cooperation for food businesses provides opportunities for a shared future where it is implemented.
A values-based food in tourism system that gives back to communities potentially creates an external environment that better supports small food businesses; however, the place of food in tourism and the food story of Aotearoa New Zealand continues to lack clarity.
The exploration of four food businesses in the time of crisis provides new insights into the multidirectional inter-related factors that either drive success or hinder it.
Particular thanks to Dr Helen Anderson, Te Pukenga, Institute of Skills and Technology, for her advice and support of this research.
Latham, E. (2024), "Food in tourism in a time of critical shift: four reflexive case studies in Aotearoa New Zealand", Journal of Enterprising Communities: People and Places in the Global Economy, Vol. 18 No. 2, pp. 246-264. https://doi.org/10.1108/JEC-10-2022-0143
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