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Food shopping transition: socio-economic characteristics and motivations associated with use of supermarkets in a North African urban environment

Tessier S., Traissac P., Bricas N., Maire B., Eymard-Duvernay S., El Ati J., Delpeuch F.. 2010. Public Health Nutrition, 13 (9) : p. 1410-1418.

DOI: 10.1017/S1368980010000601

Objective: In the context of the nutrition transition and associated changes in the food retail sector, to examine the socio-economic characteristics and motivations of shoppers using different retail formats (large supermarkets (LSM), medium-sized supermarkets (MSM) or traditional outlets) in Tunisia. Design: Cross-sectional survey (2006). Socio-economic status, type of food retailer and motivations data were collected during house visits. Associations between socio-economic factors and type of retailer were assessed by multinomial regression; correspondence analysis was used to analyse declared motivations. Setting: Peri-urban area around Tunis, Tunisia, North Africa. Subjects: Clustered random sample of 724 households. Results: One-third of the households used LSM, two-thirds used either type of supermarket, but less than 5% used supermarkets only. Those who shopped for food at supermarkets were of higher socio-economic status; those who used LSM were much wealthier, more often had a steady income or owned a credit card, while MSM users were more urban and had a higher level of education. Most households still frequently used traditional outlets, mostly their neighbourhood grocer. Reasons given for shopping at the different retailers were most markedly leisure for LSM, while for the neighbourhood grocer the reasons were fidelity, proximity and availability of credit (the latter even more for lower-income customers). Conclusions: The results pertain to the transition in food shopping practices in a south Mediterranean country; they should be considered in the context of growing inequalities in health linked to the nutritional transition, as they differentiate use and motivations for the choice of supermarkets v. traditional food retailers according to socio-economic status.

Mots-clés : produit alimentaire; tunisie

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