Food Tourism

Food Tourism

FOOD TOURISM AND THE CULINARY TOURIST
___________________________________
A Thesis
Presented to
the Graduate School of
Clemson University
___________________________________
In Partial Fulfillment
of the Requirements for the Degree
Doctor of Philosophy
Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management
___________________________________
by
Sajna S. Shenoy
December 2005
Advisor: Dr. William C. Norman
ABSTRACT
The subject matter of this dissertation is food tourism or tourists’ participation in
`food related activities at a destination to experience its culinary attributes. In addition,
the culinary tourist or the tourist for whom food tourism is an important, if not primary,
reason influencing his travel behavior, is its focus.
The empirical objectives of this dissertation concerned identifying the underlying
dimensions of food tourism, developing a conceptual framework that explains
participation in food tourism, develop taxonomy of food tourists by segmenting the
tourists based on their participation in food tourism, and finally identifying the variables
that predict membership in these food tourist segments. The effect of sociodemographic
variables on participation in food tourism, and their association with the food tourist
segments were also examined. Further, all the findings were analyzed within the
theoretical framework of the world culture theory of globalization and the cultural capital
theory.
Based on the survey responses of 341 tourists visiting the four coastal counties of
South Carolina, the analyses revealed that food tourism is composed of five dimensions
or classes of activities. These include dining at restaurants known for local cuisines,
purchasing local food products, consuming local beverages, dining at high quality
restaurants, and dining at familiar chain restaurants and franchises. The conceptual
variables significant in explaining participation in food tourism were food neophobia,
variety-seeking, and social bonding. The sociodemographic variables that effect
participation in food tourism were age, gender, education, and income.
iii
Segmentation of tourists revealed the presence of three clusters: the culinary
tourist, the experiential tourist, and the general tourist. The culinary tourist was identified
as the tourist who, at the destination, frequently dines and purchases local food, consumes
local beverages, dines at high-class restaurants, and rarely eats at franchisee restaurants.
In addition, the culinary tourist segment was more educated, earned higher income than
the other two segments, and was characterized by its variety-seeking tendency towards
food and absence of food neophobia.
The dissertation’s findings highlight the role of diverse culinary establishments
(restaurants, farmer’s market, pubs etc.) that contribute to the food tourist experience, and
emphasize the importance of destination marketing organizations and the small and
medium enterprises working in tandem. Further, the findings also suggest that
destinations targeting the culinary tourism market should articulate the availability of
indigenous local dishes, varied culinary cultures and food tourism activities.
The evidence that the fundamental structure of food tourism revolves around the
local, along with the presence of eating familiar food at chain and franchisees, as a
dimension of food tourism, shows that the dialectics between the local and the global is at
play, lending credence to the implications of the globalization theory to the food tourism
context. The findings also support the use of cultural capital theory in explaining the
culinary tourists, as seen by their possession of the indicators of cultural capital, namely
an advanced education, and ‘cultural omnivorousness’ typified by their variety-seeking
tendency.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
............................................................................................................................ Page
TITLE PAGE ...........................................................................................................
i
ABSTRACT .............................................................................................................
ii
DEDICATION ........................................................................................................
iv
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS .....................................................................................
v
CHAPTER
1. INTRODUCTION .........................................................................................
1
1.1 Food and Tourism: What is the Connection? ........................................
1.2. Culinary Tourism as Special Interest Tourism .....................................
1.3 Food Consumption and the Social Sciences ..........................................
1.4 Problem Statement .................................................................................
1.5 Objectives of the Study ..........................................................................
1.6 Research Questions for the Dissertation ................................................
1.7 Delimitations and Limitations ................................................................
1.8 Definitions ..............................................................................................
1.9 Organization of the Dissertation ............................................................
1
4
7
12
13
15
16
17
19
2. LITERATURE REVIEW AND CONCEPTUAL DEVELOPMENT ...........
20
2.1 World Culture Theory of Globalization .................................................
2.2 Theory of Cultural Capital .....................................................................
2.3 Towards a Theory of Tourist Food Consumption ..................................
2.4 Conceptual Development .......................................................................
2.5 Sociodemographic Status and Food consumption .................................
2.6 Synopsis of the Chapter .........................................................................
20
24
29
31
56
60
3. RESEARCH METHODS ..............................................................................
61
3.1 Presentation of the Hypotheses ..............................................................
3.2 Questionnaire construction ....................................................................
3.3 Research Design .....................................................................................
3.4 Data Collection Process .........................................................................
3.5 Statistical Approach to Hypotheses .......................................................
3.6 Synopsis of the Chapter .........................................................................
61
66
78
80
82
89
v
Table of Contents (Continued)
Page
4. DESCRIPTIVE FINDINGS ..........................................................................
91
4.1 Screening of the Data .............................................................................
91
4.2 Profile of the Respondents .....................................................................
93
4.3 Testing for Non-response Bias ...............................................................
98
4.4 Reliability of the Measurement Scales ................................................... 103
4.5 Chapter Summary ................................................................................... 106
5. HYPOTHESES TESTING .............................................................................
107
5.1 Identifying the Underlying Dimensions of Food Tourism ..................... 107
5.2 Identifying the Variables that Explain Participation in Food Tourism ... 116
5.3 The Effect of Sociodemographics on Participation in Food Tourism…… ...126
5.4 Developing Taxonomy of Food Tourists ................................................ 133
5.5 Variables Predicting Membership in Food Tourist Segments ................ 140
5.6 Sociodemographic Status and the Food Tourist Clusters ....................... 147
5.7 Chapter Summary ................................................................................... 151
6. CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS ......................................................
153
6.1 Review of the Findings ...........................................................................
6.2 Theoretical Implications .........................................................................
6.3 Practical Implications ..............................................................................
6.4 Limitations ..............................................................................................
6.5 Recommendations for Future Research ..................................................
153
168
175
177
178
APPENDICES
Appendix A .........................................................................................................
Appendix B .........................................................................................................
Appendix C .........................................................................................................
Appendix D .........................................................................................................
Appendix E: Survey ............................................................................................
Appendix F ..........................................................................................................
Appendix G .........................................................................................................
Appendix H .........................................................................................................
Appendix I ..........................................................................................................
182
183
184
185
186
192
193
194
195
BIBLIOGRAPHY .....................................................................................................
196
LIST OF TABLES
Table ..............................................................................................................................Page
3.1
Twenty-nine Items Generated to Measure Food Tourism
.........................
70
3.2
Items on the Food Neophobia Scale
..........................................................
72
3.3
Items on the VARSEEK Scale
...................................................................
73
3.4
Items and Dimensions on the Hedonic Consumption Attitude Scale
3.5
The Reworded Version of the Modified Involvement Scale to
Measure Enduring Involvement with Food Related Activities
........
75
................
76
3.6
Sample Stratification by Region
................................................................
81
3.7
Survey Administration Schedule
...............................................................
82
4.1
Survey Return Rates
..................................................................................
93
4.2
Number of Respondents by Region of Intercept
4.3
Ranking of the State/ Country (non-U.S.) of Residence of the Respondents .. 95
4.4
Distribution of Respondents by Gender
4.5
Distribution of Respondents by Age Category
4.6
Distribution of Respondents by Education
4.7
Marital Status of Respondents
4.8
Employment Status of Respondents
4.9
Distribution of Annual Household Income of Respondents
4.10
Chi-square Comparisons of First Wave and Third Wave Respondents
4.11
Chi-square Comparisons of Respondents and Non-respondents
4.12
Student’s t-tests Comparisons of Respondents and Non-respondents
........................................
.....................................................
94
96
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96
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97
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97
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98
98
....
100
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102
.......
103
vii
List of Tables (Continued)
Table
...............................................................................................................Page
4.13
Reliability Coefficients of Scales Used in this Study
................................
106
5.1
Factor Analysis of Items Indicative of Food Tourism
...............................
111
5.2
Label, Summative Mean, Standard Deviation, and Reliability Coefficient
of the Five Dimensions of Food Tourism. ...............................................
113
5.3
Correlations Matrix for the Independent and Dependent Variables
117
5.4
Regression Analysis of the Conceptual Variables Explaining Dine Local
... 119
5.5
Regression Analysis of the Conceptual Variables Explaining Drink Local
. 121
5.6
Regression Analysis of the Conceptual Variables Explaining Purchase Local.. 123
5.7
Regression Analysis of the Conceptual Variables Explaining Dine Elite
.... 124
5.8
Regression Analysis of the Conceptual Variables Explaining Familiarity
... 125
5.9
MANOVA Results Displaying the Effect of Age on Participation in Food
Tourism …………………. .......................................................................
128
MANOVA Results Displaying the Effect of Gender on
Participation in Food Tourism …………… .............................................
129
MANOVA Results Displaying the Effect of Education on
Participation in Food Tourism ………….. ...............................................
130
MANOVA Results Displaying the Effect of Income on
Participation in Food Tourism ……….. ...................................................
132
5.10
5.11
5.12
..........
5.13
Mean Scores and SD for Each of the Five Dimensions of the Three Clusters . 134
5.14
Analysis of Variance for Cluster Means on Five Factors of Food Tourism
5.15
Cross-validation of the Three Clusters Using the
Classification Results of Multiple Discriminant Analysis
5.16
Omnibus Tests of Model Coefficients
. 135
.......................
139
.......................................................
140
viii
List of Tables (Continued)
Table
...............................................................................................................Page
5.17
Parameter Estimates Displaying Variables that Separate Culinary Tourist
Cluster from the General Tourist Cluster………………………………………142
5.18
Parameter Estimates Displaying the Variables that Separate
Experiential Tourist Cluster from the General Tourist Cluster
...............
143
Parameter Estimates Displaying the Variables that Separate
Culinary Tourist from Experiential Tourist Cluster .................................
144
Logistic Regression Analysis of the Food Tourist Clusters
as a Function of the Predictor Variables ..................................................
145
5.21
Classification of Cases for Each of the Groups
.........................................
146
5.22
Results of Chi-square Test of Association between Gender and
the Three Food Tourist Clusters . .............................................................
148
Results of Chi-square Test of Association between Age and
the Three Food Tourist Clusters ..............................................................
149
Results of Chi-square Test of Association between Education
and the Three Food Tourist Clusters ........................................................
149
Results of Chi-square Test of Association between Employment
Status and the Three Food Tourist clusters ..............................................
150
Results of Chi-square Test of Association between Marital Status
and the Three Food Tourist Clusters ........................................................
150
Results of Chi-square Test of Association between Annual
Household Income and the Three Food Tourist Clusters ........................
151
Summary of the Dissertation’s Findings
152
5.19
5.20
5.23
5.24
5.25
5.26
5.27
5.28
....................................................
LIST OF FIGURES
Figure .............................................................................................................................Page
2.1
5.1
6.1
Proposed Conceptual Framework for Explaining
Participation in Food Tourism ...................................................................
Line Graph of the Mean Scores on each Dimensions
of Food Tourism for the Three Food Tourist Clusters
52
...............................
138
The Revised Conceptual Model that Explains Food Tourism . ..................
173
CHAPTER ONE
1. INTRODUCTION
1.1 Food and Tourism: What is the Connection?
Consumption is an integral aspect of the tourist experience, with the tourist
consuming not only the sights and sounds, but also the taste of a place. Nearly, all tourists
eat and dine out. Food is a significant means to penetrate into another culture as “…it
allows an individual to experience the ‘Other’ on a sensory level, and not just an
intellectual one” (Long, 1998, p.195). Local food is a fundamental component of a
destination’s attributes, adding to the range of attractions and the overall tourist
experience (Symons, 1999). This makes food an essential constituent of tourism
production as well as consumption.
Dining out is a growing form of leisure where meals are consumed not out of
necessity but for pleasure, and the atmosphere and occasion are part of the leisure
experience as much as the food itself. A recent profile of the tourists by the U.S.
Department of Commerce, Office of Travel and Tourism Industries (OTTI) shows that
dining in restaurants was ranked as the second most favorite activity by the overseas
visitors to the U.S. (Appendix A) and the number one favorite recreational/ leisure
activity by U.S. travelers visiting international destinations (Appendix B).
However, when it comes to tourists, dining out can both be a necessity and a
pleasure. While some tourists dine to satisfy their hunger, others dine at a particular
restaurant to experience the local food and cuisine, because for the latter these form an
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important component of their travel itinerary. This makes the study of tourists’ food
consumption interesting as well as complex.
The growth of eating out as a form of consumption and the market forces of
globalization have made the food products and cuisines from all over the world more
accessible. This has stimulated the emergence of food as a theme in magazines (Cuisine,
Gourmet Traveler, Food and Travel), radio shows (Chef’s Table, Splendid Table), and
television, particularly cable television, with food shows focusing on travel and travel
shows on food. In fact, the popularity of twenty-four hour television channels, such as the
Food Network devoted to food and the place that food comes from, intertwines food with
tourism so much that quite often it is hard to determine whether one is watching a food
show or a travel show.
Such developments have spurred an interest in experiencing the unique and
indigenous food, food products and cuisines of a destination, so much so that people are
often traveling to a destination specifically to experience the local cuisines or to taste the
dishes of its ‘celebrity chef’ (Mitchell & Hall, 2003). Traveling for food has taken an
entirely new meaning from what it used to when voyages were undertaken for spice trade,
but voyagers still carried dried food, as the local cuisines were looked upon with
suspicion (Tannahill, 1988). The importance of local cuisines to tourists today is
demonstrated by the results of a survey of visitors to Yucatan Peninsula where 46% of
the meals consumed by the tourists were local cuisines (Torres, 2002).
From an economic point of view, nearly 100% of tourists spend money on food at
their destination. Data shows that more than two-thirds of table-service restaurant
operators reported that tourists are important to their business, with check sizes of US$25
3
or above coming from tourists (National Restaurant Association, 2002). In Jamaica, for
example, the daily expenditure on food by the tourist is five times greater than that of the
average Jamaican (Belisle, 1984). According to Pyo, Uysal, and McLellan (1991),
among all possible areas of expenditures while traveling, tourists are least likely to make
cuts in their food budget. All these suggest that tourists’ food consumption makes a
substantial contribution to the local restaurants, dining places, the food industry, and
thereby the destination’s economy.
In an increasingly competitive world of tourism marketing, every region or
destination is in a constant search for a unique product to differentiate itself from other
destinations. Local food or cuisines that are unique to an area are one of the distinctive
resources that may be used as marketing tools to get more visitors. This is particularly
evident from the studies on wine tourism (Charters & Ali-Knight, 2002; Hall &
Macionis, 1998; Telfer, 2001), which have demonstrated that tourists travel to
destinations that have established a reputation as a location to experience quality local
products (e.g., Napa Valley in California, Provence in France, Niagara in Ontario, Yarra
Valley in Victoria, Australia).
Countries like Canada and Australia have already begun to target the culinary
tourism segment in their marketing strategy promoting local cuisines to their tourists as a
main part of their tourism policy. The Canadian Tourism Commission has identified
culinary tourism as an important component of the rapidly growing cultural tourism
market. So has the Tourism Council of Tasmania. The Council adopted a strategy in 2002
to develop high quality wine and food tourism experiences, events and activities, and a
multi-regional approach. This has resulted in longer stays and increased visitor spending,
4
resulting in benefits to the local agriculture and the local economy (Tourism Council of
Tasmania, 2002).
Finally, a relevant example of the economic importance of local food products to
tourism is the case of the Southern Seafood Alliance in South Carolina. The organization
funded projects, including this dissertation, with the goal of developing strategies to make
consumption of South Atlantic wild-caught shrimp an integral element of South Carolina
coastal tourism experience. The project’s ultimate objective was to revive the struggling
local shrimp industry through tourism.
1.2. Culinary Tourism as Special Interest Tourism
The growth of special interest tourism is seen as a reflection of the increasing
diversity of leisure interests of the early twenty-first century leisure society ( Douglas,
Douglas, & Derret, 2001). Post-modern tourism is slowly moving away from the ‘Four
S’s of Tourism’ (sun, sand, sex, and surf), to being a part of an overall lifestyle that
corresponds to people’s daily lives and activities (Hobson & Dietrich, 1994). The growth
of culinary tourism is seen as an outcome of a trend where people spend much less time
cooking, but choose to pursue their interest in food as a part of a leisure experience such
as watching cooking shows, dining out and the like (Sharples, 2003).
Leisure researchers have studied special interest tourism like ecotourism (Acott,
Trobe, & Howard, 1998) and wine tourism (Charters & Ali-Knight, 2002) to show how
tourists may be segmented based on their activities along the ‘tourism interest continuum’
(Brotherton & Himmetoglu, 1997). The culinary tourist is thus a special interest tourist
whose interest in food is the primary reason influencing his travel behavior and falls on
5
the upper end of the food tourism interest continuum. At the same time, eating and
drinking being ultimately cultural affairs (Murcott, 1986), the culinary tourist is also a
cultural tourist. Thus, the obvious overlap of food as a special interest component as well
as a cultural component makes the culinary tourist possibly both a special interest tourist
and a cultural tourist.
A survey of Special Interest Tours on the internet demonstrates that there are
numerous tour operators conducting culinary tours as well as the more popular wine tours.
An examination of these websites reveals that the culinary tours can be roughly classified
into three types. These are: 1) the cooking school holidays, 2) dining at restaurants
famous for their local cuisines or their celebrity chefs and visiting food markets, and 3)
visiting food producers with tours specifically related to just one product (e.g. coffee
plantation tours, tea plantation tours, chocolate lovers tours, the ubiquitous wine tours,
and the like). Most culinary tours include a combination of all three types.
The cost of a normal six day cooking school tour can range from US$ 1500 for
the more popular destinations like France (Provence), Italy (Piedmont, the Italian Riviera,
Sicily, Tuscany, and Venice), and Spain, to US$ 5000 for South Africa and Australia,
which have recently entered the international wine tourism market. These tours usually
include demonstrations by celebrity chefs (where the tourist may be a participant), wine
tasting at vineyards, and visits to places known for its art, history, and culture. Thus, the
cooking school holiday spectrum covers a wide range from rural to urban, field- based to
school-based, single commodity to multi–commodity, residential to non- residential, and
total holiday to a part of holiday experience (Sharples, 2003).
6
The second type of culinary tours is one where the itineraries chiefly include
visiting restaurants, local food producers, and food markets. Though the Californian Napa
and Sonoma Valleys and the wine country have recently become extremely popular,
other popular destinations for such tours are Spain, Portugal, France, Oaxaca (Mexico),
Morocco and Canada. Other than eating at restaurants known for their distinctive local
cuisines, a customized tour, for example, might include olive oil tasting in Italy, cheese
tasting in France, and the popular Tapas Tours in Spain. Variations of such culinary
tours, for the more adventurous, may include cycling and walkabout gourmet
explorations throughout the gourmet regions. For the less adventurous or for the traveler
with a lower budget, cities like San Francisco and New York with their ethnic
communities such as Little Italy and China Town, offer such experiences within one’s
own country or city. In addition, events like Taste of Chicago, where almost a hundred
restaurants come together to display their best chefs and the food associated with the
city’s ethnic diversity, present a wonderful opportunity for culinary tourism experience.
The third type of culinary tours is the extremely specialized tour pertinent to just
one product alone. Examples of these are the Coffee Tours to Costa Rica, Nicaragua,
Peru, Panama, Peru, Brazil, and Ethiopia. Here, the culinary tourists indulge in coffee
tasting, or on-site experiences such as coffee picking and sorting, or learn about the
history of coffee through guided tours in coffee museums. Similarly, Tea Tours in Sri
Lanka and Japan offer tea plantations as attractions with tea museums dedicated to
exhibiting the details of tea cultivation, production and manufacturing, along with tours
of tea plantations, demonstrations of tea ceremonies, and tearooms. Another popular
product-related tour is the Chocolate Tours of Belgium and Switzerland that offer similar
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experiences for chocolate lovers. Thus, culinary tourism satisfies the motive of
combining love for food and travel.
1.3 Food Consumption and the Social Sciences
Ritchie & Zins (1978) list food as one of the components of cultural tourism,
implying that food is representative of a culture. One of the dominant approaches in the
social sciences used to explain food consumption is the cultural approach, with the others
being the economic and the psychological. Food theorists in the disciplines of
anthropology, discursive psychology, and sociology have contributed significantly with
their disciplinary perspectives on food consumption.
Anthropology, specifically social anthropology, accounts for the majority of
cultural studies on food. The symbolic structuralist perspective analyzes food
consumption as a psychological and behavioral system that originates in the human brain
and how food transforms from a natural object to a cultural one (Levi-Strauss, 1966). The
cultural materialistic perspective of Douglas (1975) examines the role of food as a code
conveying information about social events and social relations and the commonalities of
the structure of each meal across culture. The discipline of discursive psychology, food
semiology in particular, inspects how foods and food preparation rituals of a given
society represent a linguistic system, conveying social information that helps create and
maintain its social identity (Barthes, 1973).
The sociology of food consumption mostly looks into whether the social patterns
of food consumption are shaped by the ‘structure’ of society, or whether they are shaped
8
actively by the actions of the ‘agents’ or members of the society (Germov & Williams,
1999; McIntosh, 1996). In particular, sociological research pertinent to food consumption
has dealt with determination of interrelationships between food and cultures (Goody,
1982; Mennell, 1985), food habits as a function of changing environmental, social and
ecological conditions ( Mennell, 1992), food consumption as a means of social
differentiation (Bourdieu, 1984 (1979); Warde, 1997), and the impact of modernization
and globalization on food consumption (Ritzer, 1996,1999; Ritzer, Goodman, &
Wiedenhoft, 2001). According to McIntosh (1996) and Germov and Williams (1999), the
theories of globalization and the theories of social differentiation are useful in explaining
the trends in modern food consumption.
Food theorists, however, have normally confined themselves to studying
consumption patterns within structured environments like the home, family dinners,
festivals and restaurants with hardly any reference at all to the tourists. Studying tourists’
food-related activities is unique in that the tourists leave their structured environments,
where the demands of the tourist lifestyle prevent them from going through the normal
eating rituals thus forcing them to make do with what is available. Structure, which
appear as a result of rules governing presentation, varieties and rules of precedence and
combination of food (Douglas, 1975; Marshall, 1993) is mostly overlooked by the
tourists. The role of food alters in that consumption of food becomes a form of recreation
as well as an important component of overall tourist activity and experience.
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1.3.a Food Consumption and Globalization Theories
The modern macro-sociological theories of globalization have been used to
explain the dramatically changing food consumption patterns all over the world.
Globalization has been attributed to the destruction of food related traditions like home
cooking and individualized family restaurants while increasing nutritional issues and
concerns such as balanced and healthy diet. The world cultural theory, one of the theories
of interpreting globalization, defines globalization as “the diffusion of practices, values
and technology that have an influence on people’s lives worldwide” (Albrow, 1997, p.88
and “the compression of the world and the intensification of consciousness of the world
as whole”(Robertson, 1992, p.8).
According to this theory, there is a constant struggle between the homogenizing
forces of globalization and its oppositional dynamics of heterogenization, and the
resistance to the global from the local. So, on one hand, there is the proliferation of chain
restaurants, pre-cooked and processed foods, foreign foods, and ethnic restaurants all
over the world, resulting in a more ‘globalized palate.’ On the other hand, there is a
considerable effort to re-establish and articulate the local food systems, resulting in the
continuation or resurgence of the local cuisines (Henderson, 1998; Lang, 1999). The
emphasis of the globalization theory is on the dynamics of opposing processes and not on
the outcome.
With respect to tourism, even though tourists come across potentially unfamiliar
foods to a greater degree at the destination than at home, globalization with its time and
space compression has permitted more people to experience ethnic and foreign foods at
their home. This begs a question as to how the tourist’s need for novelty, change, and the
10
exotic is satisfied, when diversity is being supplanted by uniformity, predictability, and
familiarity. Furthermore, with dining becoming a recreational tourist activity and
destinations marketing local food as a tourist attraction, the concept of globalization
questions the strength of the classic hypothesis of tourist seeking experiences not
available in daily life (Richards, 2002). Thus, there is a quandary in the impact of
globalization for tourism in that as foodways become global, there is a problem for
destinations promoting tourism to stress the uniqueness of their local cuisines to those
who can taste the same at home.
The globalization theory of world culture (Robertson, 1992), which encompasses
the homogeneity versus the heterogeneity dispute (Robertson, 1995) and the significance
of the local as an essential ingredient of the overall globalization process (Robertson,
1997), theorizes how globalization is actually presenting people with diverse experiences
despite the convergence in tastes. The emphasis on eating the cuisine where it is native
rather than the processed food via franchising worldwide, the growing resurgence of the
local through resistance movements like the Slow Cities and Slow Food which offer the
tourists a taste of ‘real’ local food, are all example of the dialectical relationship between
globalization and localization. The globalization theory is hence employed in this
dissertation to analyze the role of macro-structural forces in explaining food tourism.
1.3.b Food Consumption and Theories of Social Differentiation
While theories of globalization explain how structural forces operating on a macro-level
influence our consumption, the theories of social differentiation explain consumption
patterns on the micro-level. The theories of social differentiation examine how food is
11
used as a means to maintain and establish hierarchy, inclusion and exclusion, social
distinction, and self-identity, thereby reinforcing symbolic boundaries and conveying
social information. Cultural capital theory (Bourdieu, 1984), a theory of social
differentiation, has been often used by sociologists (Germov & Williams, 1999;
McIntosh, 1996; Warde, 1997; Warde & Martens, 2000) to explain why different patterns
of consumption exist within a society.
Cultural capital theory treats the physical necessity of eating as a cultural practice,
and food as one of the cultural resources by which people maintain a symbolic distance,
social stratification, and quite often even social exclusion. Cultural capital is not the
prerogative of the rich and the elite, who are endowed with economic capital, but it is
transmitted through: 1) endowed or symbolic form as internalized culture, 2) objectified
form in material objects and media, and 3) institutionalized form like education and
degree certificates. With respect to food, possession of cultural capital is manifested in a
refined sense of taste and a quest and appreciation for obscure local, regional foods and
distinctive cuisines that suggest cultural heritage (Pietrykowski, 2004).
The cultural capital theory (Bourdieu, 1984), with its underlying assumption
about developing familiarity, interest, involvement and knowledge about certain cultural
products as a means to maintain social stratification systems, is proposed as an
explanation of the emergence of food tourism and the culinary tourist. Eating is more
than just a biological act, and the tourist deploys as well as accrues cultural capital by
participating in food tourism, with food being a source of pleasure, as well as a cultural
resource.
12
Tourism researchers have stressed the importance of analyzing the tourist both at
the micro–level as well as at the structural macro-level for the theoretical framework to
be relevant and to provide a broader social context to explain tourist experiences
(McGehee, 1999; Pearce, 1993; Sharpley, 1999). Food theorists in sociology have also
stressed on the need to study food consumption, combining both the macro and microlevel (Germov & Williams, 1999; McIntosh, 1996). Using this approach to the theoretical
framework, the current investigation uses the macro-sociological theory of globalization
and the micro-sociological theory of cultural capital as the two overarching theories to
understand and explain food tourism.
1.4 Problem Statement
In the book Food Tourism around the World, Mitchell and Hall (2003) state:
“Studies of consumer behavior in the area of food tourism are rare and, as
a result, the picture we have of the food tourist, is at best sketchy, and
considerable amount of research is required to understand food tourism
consumer behavior more effectively. To date the material that does exist
has been borrowed from more general tourism studies or has been inferred
from studies not directly related to tourism” (p.80).
This quote illustrates the relevance of the current investigation to the tourism literature.
Empirical evidence of the culinary tourist and activities that constitute food
tourism is difficult to locate, although there are anecdotal references in the literature
connecting food and tourism. Food has been viewed as a necessary element of survival,
and probably as a component of another attraction such as food in festivals, but has
13
hardly been studied as an attraction or as a tourist recreational activity by itself (Smith,
1983). Food and dining is typically lumped together with accommodations in an
assemblage of tourism statistics (Selwood, 2003). In general, food has been the
overlooked, unsung component and largely a terra incognita of tourism research.
Studies in tourism where food has been the focus of research have mainly been
case studies (Boniface, 2003; Hall, Sharples, Mitchell, Macionis, & Cambourne, 2003;
Hjalager & Richards, 2002; Telfer & Hashimoto, 2003) and ethnographies (Long, 1998,
2004). These studies have contributed to the field by providing analysis of the
relationship between food and tourism with practical examples of success stories of cities
and countries that have used culinary tourism as a positioning strategy. In addition, they
have attempted to define the parameters within which to study food in tourism. However,
the data that is available on food-centric tourism activities is disparate and owes its origin
to unrelated range of sources.
Thus, there is a need for conceptually based research set in a positivistic paradigm
within the framework of social sciences that empirically examines food tourism and
identifies the characteristics of culinary tourist. The obvious lacuna that exists in terms of
research that specifically examines food in tourism needs to be addressed. This
dissertation contributes to that end.
1.5 Objectives of the Study
For the purposes of this dissertation, food tourism is defined as tourist’s food
related activities at the destination, such as dining, purchasing local food products, and
experiencing the characteristics of a unique food-producing region. In addition, the
14
culinary tourist is defined as the special interest tourist whose major activities at the
destination are food-related and for whom food tourism is an important, if not primary,
reason influencing his travel behavior.
The goals of this dissertation are two-fold. The first objective is pertinent to food
tourism. It is concerned with identifying the underlying dimensions of food tourism.
Drawing from tourism literature that focuses on food, a conceptual framework is
proposed and tested to identify the concepts that explain participation in food tourism.
The second objective concerns the culinary tourist market segment. It involves
classification of tourists based on their participation in food tourism and identification of
the culinary tourist. Finally, the variables that predict membership in the food tourist
segments are determined.
Further, using theoretical pluralism, this dissertation combines the theoretical
framework of globalization and cultural capital to understand food tourism. However, the
purpose of this dissertation is not to test the two theories, but to use them as overarching
theories to explain food tourism. The theoretical and empirical objectives of the
dissertation are outlined as follows:
Theoretical Objectives:
1. To understand how the world culture theory of globalization and the cultural
capital theory together contribute to the explanation of food tourism.
Empirical Objectives:
1. To determine the underlying dimensions of food tourism;
2. To formulate and test a conceptual framework to identify the variables that
explain participation in food tourism;
15
3. To examine the effect of the sociodemographic variables on participation in food
tourism;
4. To develop a taxonomy of tourists based on their participation in food tourism;
5. To identify the variables that predict membership in the food tourist clusters;
6. To examine significant association between sociodemographic variables and the
food tourist clusters.
1.6 Research Questions for the Dissertation
The research questions that arise out of the empirical objectives of the dissertation
are stated next:
1. What are the underlying dimensions of food tourism?
2. What variables explain participation in food tourism?
3. Are there any differences in participation in food tourism with respect to age,
gender, marital status, occupation, education, annual income?
4. Can tourists be segmented into homogenous groups based on their participation in
food tourism?
5. What variables predict membership in each of the food tourist clusters (arrived at
as a result of the classification of tourists based on their participation in food
tourism)?
6. Is there an association between the food tourist clusters and age, gender, marital
status, occupation, education, and annual income of the tourists?
Propositions are developed and stated for each of these research questions in
Chapter Two along with the literature review, which provides a conceptual foundation for
16
the dissertation’s hypotheses. The hypotheses are presented in Chapter Three. The
outcome of the hypotheses testing is finally explained within the framework of the two
theories in Chapter Six.
1.7. Delimitations and Limitations
The dissertation is subject to following delimitations:
1. The dissertation is delimited to tourists visiting the four coastal counties of South
Carolina;
2. The dissertation does not take into account the amount of money spent by the
tourists on food and food-related activities;
3. The dissertation is limited to tourists vacationing during the summer season only;
4. The dissertation does not explore and identify the primary travel motivations of
the tourists with respect to food, and limits itself to tourists’ participation in food
related activities.
5. The dissertation limits itself to being an empirical generalization and does not test
any theory/ theories.
17
1.8 Definitions
Tourism: According to Mathieson and Wall, 1982 “The temporary movement of people
to destinations outside their normal places of work and residence, the activities
undertaken during their stay in those destinations, and the facilities created to cater to
these needs” (Gunn, 1988, p.2).
Food Tourism: The tourist’s food related activities at a destination, such as dining,
purchasing local food products or food pertinent products, and experiencing the
characteristics of a unique food-producing region.
Special Interest Tourism: When satisfying particular leisure pursuit or interest is the
major motive influencing travel behavior and sometimes even selection of a destination
for pleasure travel.
Culinary Tourist: A special interest tourist, whose major activities at the destination are
food-related, and for whom food tourism is an important, if not primary, reason
influencing his travel behavior.
Cultural Tourism: Visiting a place with a motivation to explore and immerse intentionally
to learn about aspects of culture like customs, arts, heritage, and lifestyle in an informed
way.
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Other: “the anthropological notion of humans defining the world according to their own
socially constructed perceptions of reality, perceptions that divide the world into the
known and the familiar as opposed to the unknown or the other” (Long, 2004, p.23)
Foodways: The culinary culture of a region or a country that includes its cuisines, the
eating practices of its people, and its culinary history and heritage.
Globalization: Combining the definitions of Robertson (1992 p.8) and Albrow (1997,
p.88) “Diffusion of practices, values and technology due to spatio–temporal compression
of the world, resulting in the intensification of consciousness of the world as a whole.”
Cultural Capital: The accumulation of knowledge of cultural practices, its symbolic
mastery, and the ability to perform tasks in culturally acceptable ways and participate in
high culture events.
Structure: The social force that determines the way the society is organized through
social institutions and social groups, resulting in predictable patterns of social interaction.
Agency: The ability of people, individually and collectively, to influence their own lives
and the society in which they live.
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1.9 Organization of the Dissertation
Chapter One presented an introduction to this dissertation, discussed the role of
food in tourism, and the emergence of the niche travel market of culinary tourism. It
briefly discussed the relevance of the theories of globalization and cultural capital in
explaining food consumption, and their potential in explaining food tourism. In addition,
the problem statement, the objectives, the research questions that arise out of the
objectives of the dissertation, the key terms, delimitations and limitations were defined.
In Chapter Two, the theories of globalization and cultural capital are reviewed.
Next, the literature where the twin themes of food and tourism intermingle is reviewed
with an aim to answer the research questions that were presented in Chapter One. At
appropriate points in the text, the major propositions arrived at after the literature review
are presented and finally summarized as the conceptual framework that explains
participation in food tourism.
Chapter Three presents the hypotheses for each of the research questions of the
dissertation, discusses the methodology employed for the current dissertation, and
presents the operationalization of the variables. Chapter Four reports the descriptive
results of the research. Chapter Five discusses the results from the testing of conceptual
framework and the segmentation of the tourists, and other hypotheses.
Chapter Six concludes the dissertation by summarizing the findings, discussing
their implications, and offering suggestions for further research.
CHAPTER TWO
2. LITERATURE REVIEW
AND
CONCEPTUAL DEVELOPMENT
This chapter is divided into two sections. The first section reviews the two main
theories of consumption, the world culture theory of globalization and the cultural capital
theory, to offer a theoretical explanation for tourist food consumption. The second section
demonstrates how the review of tourism literature that focus on food resulted in the
formulation of the research propositions and a conceptual framework that explains
participation in food tourism. In the final section, the relevance of socioeconomic and
demographic status in tourist food consumption is reviewed. At appropriate points in the
text, assumptions and major propositions underlying the dissertation are presented.
2.1 World Culture Theory of Globalization
Globalization theories are theories of modernity and are significant in explaining
the development of the new means of consumption (Ritzer, 1996, 1999). There are
different perspectives on globalization theory, with the three main interpretations of
globalization in the field of sociology being: 1) the world culture theory, 2) the world
system theory, and 3) the world polity theory. Since this dissertation views food as a
cultural component, the world culture theory of globalization is used as a means of
understanding tourists’ food consumption.
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The term globalization was first used around 1960 to connote something that is
happening worldwide (Waters, 1995). Economics, business, technology, politics, culture,
and environmental studies have used this term from different perspectives and with
different definitions. Sociologists have defined globalization in the following ways:
“…diffusion of practices, values and technology that have an influence on
people’s lives worldwide” (Albrow, 1997, p.88);
“…spatio-temporal processes of change which underpin a transformation in the
organization of human affairs by linking together and expanding human activity across
regions and continents” (Held, McGrew, Goldblatt, & Perraton, 1999, p14), and
“…interconnectedness of the world as a whole and the concomitant increase in
reflexive, global consciousness” (Robertson, 2001, p.8).
According to world culture theory of globalization (Robertson, 1992), the process
of globalization operates independent of societal and other socio-cultural processes
though it has an impact on them. Movement of religious ideas, money, tourism, food and
technology exist globally, breaking old social orders and enabling new solidarities.
Though the popular notion is that the there is an economic causality (through
transnational corporations) to the globalization process, Robertson (1992) theorizes that
there is no single driving force to globalization. Different forces such as religion, culture
and technology have been dominant causal forces in the process of globalization at
different times throughout the history of humanity.
An important theme of world culture theory of globalization is that globalization
is not a monolithic concept but has a multidimensional aspect to it. It is a complex
mixture of homogenization and heterogenization. People interpret globalized goods and
22
ideas in a variety of ways and incorporate them into their lives in diverse ways. There is a
tension between the global and the local. These result in societies either incorporating the
global, or annexing the global selectively to suit the local by what economists and
sociologists term as ‘glocalisation,’ or by sometimes rejecting it, as manifested through
the resurgent affirmation of local identities (Robertson, 1997). Relatively few products
are sold in a globally standardized form, as most are modified to suit to the local culture,
values and tastes.
To summarize, the stress upon the local and the dynamics of the local’s
interaction with the global is the hallmark of the globalization theory. Globalization is
thus neither a civilizing nor a destructive force, and is quite often a consequence of
modernity. Its impact across countries and time has been haphazard, discontinuous and
even contradictory.
The World Culture Theory of Globalization and Food Consumption
Sociologists studying food consumption (Germov & Williams, 1999; McIntosh,
1996) have used the world culture theory of globalization to explain the patterns of
modern food consumption. The theory when applied to food consumption reflects the
same dynamics in that there is dialectical relationship between the global and the local,
and convergence as well as divergence of tastes.
With respect to food consumption, the homogenizing aspect of globalization has
been attributed to economic forces, particularly because the economic process of trade
liberalization makes it possible for food to be sourced from any part of the world. In
addition, the most powerful reason for the convergence of tastes has been attributed to the
role of food corporations, making branded food products, recipes, and ready-to-eat
23
processed foods available throughout the world (Lang, 1999; Nygard & Storstad, 1998;
Sklair, 1991). The flow of tastes has predominantly been from the overproducing western
nations to the south, infiltrating the more regionally self-reliant markets (Lang, 1997).
Even though the west has adopted many immigrant foods, the foods that have been
adopted have been mostly transformed and popularized in their processed and ready-toeat form to such an extent that centuries old diets in many countries are being altered
(Barnet & Cavanagh, 1994).
This standardization of tastes, although stimulated in the economic sphere, results
in cultural phenomena with certain images and symbols accepted the world over as
aesthetics / lifestyle (Sklair, 1991). The example of a young French population
increasingly getting attracted to foods served at international franchisees and chains
(Fantasia, 1995) is often cited as an example of how a country such as France, which is
generally perceived as culturally insular, cannot escape from the overall trend of
globalization of tastes.
Even though globalization has been accused of suppressing regional food
differences, major local and regional variations in our eating patterns remain. The world
culture theory of globalization (Robertson, 1992) attributes this to the tension that exists
between the global and the local. The opposition and public protests to the fast food
chains such as McDonald’s and Kentucky Fried Chicken in many parts of the world are
prime examples of such dynamics. Even western countries like Australia have small
communities and towns fighting for Mac-free zones (www.mcspotlight.org/campaigns/
current/residents/index.html).
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Further, the significance of the local as an opposing force to the global is also
seen in the movements like the Slow Food Movement in Italy and many small
communities of Europe and the USA. In many western countries, extensive efforts are
being undertaken by local communities to reconstruct and emphasize local food systems
to protect their endangered gastronomic traditions (Henderson, 1998; Mayer & Knox,
2005; Stille, 2001). Thus, even though Mennell (2000) states that globalization is
facilitating a trend of ‘diminishing contrasts and increasing varieties,’ the dynamics of
globalization ensures that regional and national differences still exist and there are still
more differences than varieties (Nygard and Storstad, 1998).
To summarize, the counteracting forces of globalization and localization act
simultaneously leading to people becoming familiar with foods and cuisines from
different parts of the world and being introduced to a variety of local versions. This has
resulted in convergence in consumptive behavior on one hand and increased variety on
the other.
2.2 Theory of Cultural Capital
While theories of globalization explain how macro level forces influence the
modern consumption, other forces obviously function. According to Germov and
Williams (1999), “…while the social structure clearly affects the production, distribution,
and consumption of food, a sole focus on structural determinants obscures the agency of
the people and the counter trend away from rationalization, represented by the concept of
social differentiation”(p. 303).
25
The cultural capital theory (Bourdieu, 1984) is one such theory of social
differentiation that explains differences in consumption across groups in terms of tastes,
pleasures, and desires (Warde, 1997). Warde, Martens, and Olsen (1999) define cultural
capital as “the cultural knowledge, competence and disposition, identified through
embodied traits, educational qualifications, material possessions, and involvement in
cultural practices” (p.125). The theory views culture as complex rule-like structures that
constitute resources that can be put to strategic use, as opposed to the view of culture as
the values that suffuse aspects of belief, intention, and the collective life (DiMaggio,
1997; Hays, 1994).
According to Bourdieu (1984), class hierarchy is based on a combination of
wealth and education. An individual’s combined returns from these two determine his or
her class position. The class positions generate different experiences, determine cultural
choices, and generate internal commonalities and a system of shared preferences, norms,
and symbols. The rich elites and the educated elites maintain exclusivity through their
preference for certain genres and forms of non-material culture (visual art, music and
literature) and material cultures (food, clothing, furniture).
However, people rich in economic capital may not necessarily be high in cultural
capital because even though they value the arts, they may lack the capability to appreciate
varied cultural arts. Studies that have empirically tested the cultural capital theory have
attested this by demonstrating strong correlation between education level and the
knowledge and ability to appreciate varied cultural activities like music, visual arts,
literature, cuisines, movies, and other leisure practices (DiMaggio, 1982; DiMaggio &
Mohr, 1985;Gartman, 1991; Glynn, Bhattacharya, & Rao, 1996; Katz-Gerro & Shavit,
26
1998; Ostrower, 1998; Wilson, 2002) . The reason given for this relationship is that
education transmits culture inter-generationally in the form of dispositions, tastes, and
knowledge, in the sense that once preferences evolves, these are maintained from one
generation to another in large measure by educational reinforcement (DiMaggio & Mohr,
1985; Holt, 2000).
This focus on class and the way cultural capital passes on inter-generationally
makes the theory of cultural capital static in nature, and sociologists studying
consumption (Adema, 2000; Erickson, 1996; Katz-Gerro & Shavit, 1998; Warde,
Martens, & Olsen, 1999) have criticized the cultural capital theory for that reason.
According to them, the emphasis on class is too narrow to cover the dynamic diffusion of
objects of consumption. In addition, the theory underestimates the role of social network
diversity and other complex modern social structures that contribute to cultural capital
(Erickson, 1996). This makes the cultural capital theory, a theory of reproduction of
status. Featherstone's (1991) statement that “…we are moving towards a society without
fixed status groups in which the adoptions of styles of life, which are fixed to specific
groups, have been suppressed” (p.83), provides an apt criticism of the cultural capital
theory.
With this criticism in mind, recent studies on cultural capital theory have looked
into the stratification of consumption and differentiation in tastes as a product of lifestyle
choices (Adema, 2000; DiMaggio, 1987; Erickson, 1996; Katz-Gerro and Shavit, 1998;
Lamont, 1992; Warde, 1999). According to these studies, people rich in cultural capital
are those who are knowledgeable about a wide variety of cultural practices, understand
the relevance and rules of these practices and can use these as a conversational resource.
27
These culturally varied people are known as cultural omnivores (Peterson, 1992) and they
characterize the modern cultural consumption. According to Erickson (1996), “It is not a
hierarchy of tastes (from soap opera to classical opera) but a hierarchy of knowledge
(from those who have little knowledge about soap opera or opera to those who can take
part in a conversation about both)” (p.219) that determines one’s cultural capital and its
possession.
One of the major weakness of the cultural capital theory is that too many variables
denote cultural capital (DiMaggio & Mukhtar, 2002; Kingston, 2001) and there is no
consensus on its operationalization. It has been operationalized as knowledge about
cultural art forms, participation in cultural art forms, involvement in cultural arts, and
sometimes even as the degree of appreciation of the arts.
Cultural Capital Theory and Food Consumption
According to Mattiacci and Vignali (2004), “…from the birth of nouvelle cuisine
onwards, there has been a growing trend towards considering food as an intellectual
experience, together with exploration and rediscovery, love for history and culture, search
for traditional identity and, at the same time, for something new.” (p.704)
The cultural capital theory uses a similar perspective with respect to food and
views eating as a cultural act. The culinary field functions like other domains of ‘high’
culture and art such that there is a hierarchy of cuisines and hierarchy of food outlets and
there are group of professional practitioners and critics engaged in aesthetic discourse
about restaurants and their dishes (Warde, 2004). The cultural capital theory revolves
around the differential ability to control the definition of what is ‘good to eat.’
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According to this theory, ‘taste’ becomes a social issue when the meal distances
itself from its function of satisfying hunger and transforms into a social form or a means
of interaction. The function expected from food is indicative of one’s cultural capital.
Those low in cultural capital demand substantial meals with a taste for things that are
functional and non-formal. Those high in cultural capital, on the other hand, abandon
substance in favor of form and are committed to the symbolic. Thus, the principle
governing these differences in tastes in food is the opposition between the “tastes of
luxury (or freedom) and the tastes of necessity” (Bourdieu, 1984, p.198).
As stated earlier, the ‘cultural omnivore’ perspective of cultural capital views the
breadth of knowledge about various cultural forms and practices as cultural capital. With
respect to food, cultural capital may reside in knowledge about gourmet foods, exotic
flavors, foods that are acquired tastes, and familiarity with advanced preparation
techniques (Adema, 2000). In addition, the growing popularity of cooking shows, a
concern for where the food originates from, a desire to resist the dominant culture of
franchised food and restaurants, and the quest for obscure local and regional cuisines and
artisan-produced foods are all indicative of cultural capital (Pietrykowski, 2004; Warde,
2004).
Empirical studies on cultural capital and food have studied dining patterns in
restaurants extensively (Erickson, 1996; Warde et al, 1999; Warde, 2004). According to
these studies, ethnic restaurants are the hotbeds for accruing as well as deploying cultural
capital and “…the appeal of ethnic cuisines other than one’s own is symbolic in that it
links specialized knowledge with a cosmopolitan orientation” (Warde et al, 1999, p.123).
As for the foods served at franchisee restaurants, even though their consumption cuts
29
across social classes, fast food chains are so standardized that their conversational
possibilities end quickly and are therefore not frequented by people with high cultural
capital (Erickson, 1996). Thus, “distinction is conferred through selection of both places
to eat and of dishes” (Warde, 2004, p. 23), which results in members of different social
classes systematically picking certain foods and restaurants in preference to others,
thereby displaying class differences in a recognizable form, facilitating cohesion and
social exclusion among its possessors
To sum up, cultural capital theory is a theory of stratification, which lays the
claim that consumption of food is a socially constructed affair. People accrue cultural
capital by extending their knowledge, involvement, and familiarity with wide variety of
foods and cuisines, especially the non-standardized foods that symbolize refinement,
consequently resulting in their social exclusion.
2.3 Towards a Theory of Tourist Food Consumption
Though this dissertation does not seek to test any theory, a discussion on
globalization, cultural capital and the tourists’ food consumption is helpful in
understanding food tourism. Combining the macro theory of globalization and the micro
theory of cultural capital to explain food tourism, a theoretical framework is proposed in
this section.
The dynamics of world culture theory of globalization (Robertson, 1991, 1992)
are at play in the tourist food consumption. On one hand, the homogenizing forces of
globalization are at play, as evidenced by popularity of consumption at franchised fastfood outlets and chain restaurants among tourists in the case studies of Caribbean islands
30
and Yucatan peninsula (Belisle, 1983,1984; Torres, 2002). On the other hand, the counter
trend against homogenization is seen in the successful strategic alliances of Niagara
region (Telfer, 2001), and Mallorca (Alcock, 1995) where efforts on the part of
destinations to promote local food boosted tourism and the local economy. The forces of
globalization have exposed people to foreign foods at home, made them less wary of the
food of foreign foods, and stimulated them to experience those foods when they travel.
Moreover, the presence of both local food, and the global in the form of chain restaurants,
provides them with more variety than ever.
However, the level of exposure to the foreign foods and cuisines at home depends
on one’s position in the socio-cultural echelon. Extrapolating from the cultural capital
theory, tourists who possess the cultural capital to appreciate and enjoy foreign food at
home are the ones who are more likely to experience the local food at the destination
(Cohen & Avieli, 2004). By ordering a particular dish, pronouncing it the way the natives
pronounce, and dining at places that are not ‘touristy’ but are frequented by locals, they
show cultural competence rather than adventurousness (Molz, 2004; Richards, 2002).
Since cultural omnivorousness is characteristic of people with high cultural capital,
tourists who possess cultural capital frequent places of all types and derive as much
satisfaction from consuming peasant foods, as they do from eating at high quality
restaurants. More importantly, since eating out is a necessary element of the vacation
experience, and almost all tourists eat out, destinations become a playground for accruing
as well as deploying one’s cultural capital. Where the tourist eats and what he eats
exhibits the socio-cultural echelons he belongs to, and makes food an ideal tool for social
cohesion and social stratification.
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2.4 Conceptual Development
This section presents the conceptual foundations of the dissertation. Prior tourism
literature that focused on food is reviewed with an aim to delineate the activities that
constitute food tourism and understand its characteristics. Next, the concepts that
literature suggests are significant in explaining food tourism are located in order to
develop a conceptual model.
2.4.a Food Tourism
The lack of empirical studies with respect to food tourism calls for a detailed discussion
of literature that has focused on this form of tourism in order to describe food tourism. In
the literature where one sees the interface between food and tourism, food tourism as a
form of tourism makes its appearance as gastronomic tourism (Hjalager & Richards,
2002; Zelinsky, 1985), culinary tourism (Long, 1998) and food tourism (Hall & Mitchell,
2001; Hall, Sharples, Mitchell, Macionis, & Cambourne, 2003). These different
terminologies connote almost the same notion, i.e. tourists’ participation in food related
activities, with food being the focus of travel behavior rather than a by-product.
Gastronomic Tourism
According to Zelinsky (1985) eating at ethnic and regional cuisine restaurants is a
form of gastronomic tourism, implying that a person need not be a tourist in the
conventional sense to take part in food tourism. However, Zelinsky’s study is limited in
its approach in that it confines itself to just one activity: eating at ethnic restaurants. The
32
study’s contribution to the literature lies in being the first to identify and define this form
of tourism, thus laying the foundations for future research.
Culinary Tourism
Long (1998) uses an anthropological perspective and defines culinary tourism as
“…an intentional, exploratory participation in the foodways of an ‘Other,’ participation
including the consumption or preparation and presentation for consumption of a food
item, cuisine, meal system, or eating style considered as belonging to a culinary system
not one’s own”(p.181).
What is noteworthy about the definition is its similarity to the idea conceived by
Zelinsky (1985), the key characteristic being that one need not travel to a place away
from home to be a culinary tourist. According to Long (1998), a culinary tourist’s
participation in the foodways of the ‘Other’ is either ‘intentional’ or ‘exploratory’ or both
‘intentional and exploratory.’ This implies that culinary tourist may be positioned on a
continuum from low to high based on interest, curiosity, and intention.
Long (2004) posits that the culinary ‘Other’ can be classified into five categories:
culture, region, time, ethos/ religion, and socio-economic class (p.24). The first category
of culinary tourism is based on the cultural ‘Other.’ This refers to experiencing foodways
of ethnicities not one’s own. The cultural other is the most frequent category in which
culinary tourism is enacted, and represents the common notion of culinary tourism.
The culinary tourism based on the regional ‘Other’ refers to experiencing a food
system that is physically removed from one’s own. Thus, geography plays a considerable
part in this category of culinary tourism. The concept of the terroir, that is, the
combination of the local soil, the physical environment and the local culture that makes
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the local produce and the cuisine unique to the region, plays a significant role here. So
much so that sometimes the local produce becomes iconic of the region alone. A classic
example of this is Maine lobster, which though being a part of the Maine coast has
become symbolic of the state (Lewis, 1998), and is an integral part of the Maine tourist
itinerary.
The third category of the culinary ‘Other’ is that of experiencing foodways that
are separated by time, both historic and futuristic. Activities for this type of culinary
tourism would include visiting an attraction where one could savor historic reenactments
of feasts from a different era, sampling foods of the past and food products like heirloom
tomatoes, watching demonstrations of old style cooking, buying cookbooks with recipes
from the past, and sampling “futuristic foods” (p.184).
The fourth category of the culinary ‘Other’ is experiencing the culinary ethos that
is not one’s own. Examples of this would be experiencing foods cooked for a religious
dietary requirement (e.g. Ramadan food, Hallal, and Kosher food), church festivals, foods
cooked with respect to belief systems like vegetarianism, vegan, and foods cooked using
organically grown local produce.
The final category of culinary ‘Other’ is the socio-economic other. Examples
include dining at an upscale restaurants, attending a gourmet cooking class, or
experiencing lower class cuisines like mountain foods, Southern working class food,
down-home diners, home cooked plain food of the middle class that is served at the mom
and pop’s outlets, and buying “White Trash cookbooks” (p.184).
The sites for participation in culinary tourism, according to Long (1998), include
restaurants, ethnic restaurants, festivals, festive food events especially dedicated to a
34
particular produce like apple, peach, pumpkin, shrimp, oysters and the like, and cooking
demonstrations using home grown, freshly picked product at community festivals.
Long’s (1998) study thus contributes to the understanding of culinary tourism in
three ways. For one, it defines culinary tourism. Next, it demonstrates that culinary
tourism is composed of different categories of activities, implying that culinary tourism is
multidimensional. Finally, it shows that there are, in fact, multiple sites for participating
in culinary tourism. This seminal work, though influential in defining the parameter of
food tourism, is more of an anthropological discourse and lacks empirical analysis.
Food Tourism
An opertionalizable definition of food tourism, and a much more extensive work,
comes from Hall and Mitchell (2001) and Hall and Sharples (2003). According to Hall
and Sharples (2003), food tourism is “visitation to primary and secondary food producers,
food festivals, restaurants and specific locations for which food tasting and/or
experiencing the attributes of specialist food production region are the primary
motivating factor for travel” (Hall & Mitchell, 2001, p.10). Thus, they narrow the scope
of food tourism by stating that food tourism occurs only when the food of a place acts as
a primary motivator to travel to the destination.
Further, Hall and Sharples (2003) propose segmentation of food tourism based on
the “importance of a special interest in food as a travel motivation” (p.11). The
segmentation is based on the following criteria: 1) a high interest in food tourism in
indicated by traveling to a destination with the primary motive of visiting a restaurant,
market or winery, and all tourist activities are food related. They label this segment as
gourmet/ cuisine/gastronomic tourism; 2) participation in food related activities as a part
35
of wider range of activities at the destination indicates a moderate interest. They term this
segment as culinary tourism; 3) a low interest is indicated by participation in food related
activities just out of curiosity or because ‘it is something different.’ They label this
segment as the rural/urban tourist; 4) a segment that shows no interest in food related
activities, or considers food subsidiary to all other interests as a tourist is the final
segment. This segment is an unlabeled segment. Hall and Mitchell’s (2001), and Hall and
Sharples’ (2003) main contributions lie in providing an opertionalizable definition of
food tourism and also in conceptualizing different types of food tourism based on one’s
level of interest in food as a travel motivating factor.
Despite Hall and Sharples’ (2003) view that there is spectrum of food tourism
activities and a food tourism continuum, apparently, there seems to be a mismatch
between their definition of food tourism and their subsequent segmentation of food
tourism. If, as they propose, food tourism is defined as tourism where food is the
“primary motivating factor for travel” (p.10), then segmentation of food tourism based on
the criterion “interest in food as a travel motivation” (p.11) seems inappropriate and
cannot be tested empirically.
This dissertation addresses this shortcoming by taking a broader approach in
defining food tourism and using the frequency of participation in food related activities as
a criterion to segment tourists. Modifying Hall and Mitchell’s (2001) definition, this
dissertation redefines food tourism as a tourist’s food related activities at the destination,
such as consuming ethnic and distinctive cuisines, visiting primary and secondary food
producers, purchasing local food products or food pertinent products, and experiencing
the characteristics of a unique food producing region. Thus, although all tourists may
36
participate in food tourism, it is the degree of participation which determines where the
tourist stands along the ‘tourism interest continuum’ (Brotherton & Himmetoglu, 1997),
with high participation indicating special interest tourism. This dissertation views
culinary tourism as a special interest tourism, defining culinary tourism as special interest
tourism where an interest in food and activities related to food is a major, if not primary
reason influencing travel behavior.
Thus, the segmentation criterion is based on the degree of interest as observed
through the frequency of activities and not on motivation, and the decisive factor of
segmentation is not food tourism, but tourists participating in food tourism. By doing so,
this dissertation hopes to address the inadequacies of Hall and Mitchell’s (2001)
definition of food tourism and its apparent mismatch with the criterion used for Hall and
Sharples’ (2003) segmentation.
Other Important Contributions
Other important contributions to the understanding of food tourism come from
Kirshenblatt-Gimblett (2004) and Shortridge (2004). According to Kirshenblatt –
Gimblett (2004), gastronomic or culinary tourism occurs “when food is the focus of
travel, and itineraries are organized around cooking schools, wineries, restaurants, and
food festivals” (p.xi). The restaurants are prime sites for culinary/ gastronomic tourism,
and its raison d’etre lies in “the specificity of experiencing the food on the spot, in
relation to season, ripeness, freshness, perishability, and the total world of which it is the
part”(p. xiv).
Shortridge (2004) studies the popularity of ethnic theme towns and the role of
their communities in providing the culinary experience of their native countries to
37
tourists. The popular culinary tourism activities in the New Glarus, Wisconsin (a Swiss
settlement) and Lindsborg, Kansas (a Swedish settlement) include buying food and food
products, cookbooks and cooking utensils-both traditional and modern- that have been
imported from the county of origin, eating at food festivals, watching cooking
demonstrations, sampling food, and collecting souvenir recipes. The hallmark of this type
of tourism is the concerted efforts on the part of the ethnic community to provide an
authentic experience, not only in terms of the food, but also by creating a landscape that
resembles the country the ethnic community represents.
To synopsize, all these studies contribute to the understanding of food tourism by
driving home two important points. For one, food tourism encompasses numerous classes
of food-related activities, and has a multidimensional aspect to it. Secondly, there is a
continuum of tourists based on their participation in food-related activities. That is, there
are different categories of food tourists. These two conclusions provide the foundations to
the formulation of the first two propositions of the dissertation:
Proposition I. Food Tourism is composed of different classes of activities.
Proposition II. Tourists can be classified into homogenous groups based on their
participation in food tourism.
2.4.b Concepts that Explain Participation in Food Tourism
The food in tourism literature suggests the relevance of four concepts that
influence participation in food tourism. The next section reviews literature pertinent to
these four concepts that owe their origin to disparate fields such as food studies, social
psychology, and consumer behavior.
38
2.4. b.1 Food Neophobia
The concept of food neophobia has been used widely in the food and nutrition
literature to understand why people have the propensity to avoid or approach novel,
unfamiliar, and foreign foods. Based on Otis' (1984) findings that a person’s willingness
to taste new food is significantly and positively related to how adventurous one thinks he
is, Pliner and Hobden, (1992) conceptualized food neophobia as a personal trait and
defined it as “the reluctance to eat and/ or avoidance of novel foods.” Studies in food and
nutrition have demonstrated significant gender and age differences regarding this trait,
with men being more food neophobic than women, and older people more neophobic
than younger people (Hobden & Pliner, 1995; Otis, 1984; Pliner, Eng, & Krishnan, 1995;
Pliner & Hobden, 1992; Pliner & Melo, 1997; Pliner, Pelchat, & Grabski, 1993; Ritchey,
Frank, Hursti, & Tuorila, 2003; Tuorila, Lahteenmaki, Pohjalainen, & Lotti, 2001).
Further, these studies have found that low exposure to new foods, perceived
dangerousness of novel foods, and social influence are significant predictors of food
neophobia.
Food Neophobia and Food Tourism
According to Long (2004), food consumption is a dynamic process running along
three axes: from the exotic to the familiar, from the inedible to the edible, and from the
unpalatable to the palatable. In food / culinary tourism, there is usually a shift from the
familiar to the exotic, where the exotic could be an ingredient, dish, eating style or
preparation method of the host community. For food to function as a tourist attraction, it
needs to fall sufficiently outside of the mundane and suitably inside the boundaries of
what is palatable (Jochnowitz, 1998). In addition, the perception of what constitutes
39
exotic, inedible or unpalatable depends on personal tastes, personalities, cultural
preferences and aesthetics.
Food neophobia is one such personal trait that has been proposed as a barrier for
tourists to experience the local cuisines (Cohen & Avieli, 2004), affecting the food
tourism experience (Mitchell & Hall, 2003). Local food might not be an attraction to
many tourists because they are afraid of experimenting with novel foods and ingesting
something strange (Cohen & Avieli, 2004). However, the empirical significance of food
neophobia in explaining participation in food tourism remains untested.
Food borne diseases has been cited as a cause for concern by tourists traveling to
developing countries, and “traveler’s diarrhea” is reported as the most common ailment
(MacLaurin, 2001). In a study of perceived risks of travel, Lepp and Gibson (2003) found
strange food as being one of the risk factors for tourists. The study revealed that
institutionalized tourists, the organized mass tourists, female tourists, and tourists with
least experience in traveling abroad perceived strange food to be more of a risk.
The crucial role of food neophobia is illustrated in the literature by the following
examples, each falling at the extreme ends of food consumption spectrum. On one
extreme, there are the food neophilic tourists who demand for the exotic in dishes like
cuitlacoche (made of corn fungus), and cactus worms, ant eggs, tacos of chapulines
(grasshoppers), when they travel to Mexico (Pilcher, 2004, p.78). At the other end of the
spectrum, there are the adventurous but food neophobic backpackers, who though
adventurous enough to trek the extremely dangerous terrain of the Himalayas, are too
reluctant and fastidious to try the local Nepalese fare and carry along packaged toasts,
pizzas, and apple pies (Cohen & Avieli, 2004, p.759). This implies that novelty-seeking
40
as a tourist motivational factor is not an all-pervading trait applicable to all of the
tourist’s activities. Even though novelty-seeking may motivate a tourist to choose a
destination or activities at the destination (Crompton, 1979; Lee & Crompton, 1992), it
may not function within the realm of food.
From the destinations’ perspective, food neophobia is a major hurdle in increasing
the demand for regionally produced food, as seen in Belisle’s (1983, 1984) case studies
of the Caribbean Islands. The Caribbean economy, which survives on tourism, imports
most of its food because the conservative eating habits of the sun and sand tourists
prevent them from experiencing local dishes. This pattern seems to be recurring as
evidenced by McAndrews' (2004) study on Hawaiian tourists, who despite showing
interest in Hawaiian culture like Hula, fire-twirlers and the like, seem least interested in
the local food, so much, that many a time the local food went untested.
As a result, destinations and restaurants have attempted to surmount the tourists’
neophobic tendencies by developing strategies such as renaming the exotic dishes, or
translating it and putting it within American or Anglicized context (e.g. Khmichi as the
Korean pickle). Yet another strategy is the development of tourism-oriented culinary
establishments (Cohen & Avieli, 2004), serving innovative and creative version of the
local dishes that are transformed to suit the tourist palate. These function as a “culinary
environmental bubble” (p.775) for the food neophobic tourists.
To sum up, food’s capacity to affect the tourist’s physical health makes it one of
the risk elements of tourism. In addition, the inherent trait within a person to avoid novel
foods plays a crucial factor in determining the extent of participation in food tourism. The
41
proposition arrived as a consequence of the literature review of the concept is stated
below.
Proposition III. Food neophobia is negatively related to food tourism.
2.4. b.2 Variety-seeking Tendency
The concept of variety-seeking is borrowed from the consumer behavior
literature. It is defined as the consumer’s inherent desire for variety due to factors such as
changes in tastes, changes in constraints, and changes in feasible alternatives (McAlister
& Pessemier, 1982). In general, the concept of variety-seeking is identified as an offshoot
of the need for stimulation, and is acknowledged as an underlying explanatory variable
for the consumption of hedonic products like food, vacations, entertainment gadgets, and
the like (Ratner, Kahn, & Kahneman, 1999).
VanTrijp and Steenkamp (1992) define variety-seeking tendency with respect to
food as “the factor that aims at providing variation in stimulation through varied food
product consumption irrespective of the instrumental/ functional value of the food
product alternatives.” Variety may be sought in the following conditions: 1) when there
are changes in feasible set, that is, when the type of food that is normally consumed is not
available; 2) when there are changes in constraints, such as, access to more money or
restaurants; 3) when there are changes in tastes due to advertising; 4) when changes are
sought as a goal in itself (McAlister & Pessemier, 1982). From a sociologist’s point of
view, variety- seeking with respect to food is a manifestation of cultural experimentalism
and a search for innovation in consumption (Warde, Martens & Olsen, 1999). Further, it
42
is considered a significant feature of contemporary food consumption habits (Gabaccia,
1998).
Variety-seeking Tendency and Food Tourism
In tourism literature where food is the focus of study, variety-seeking tendency
towards food is seen as an important variable explaining tourist food consumption.
According to Shortridge (2004), the diversity of opportunities provided to the tourist to
experience varieties of food is seen as the hallmark of food tourism. At the same time,
the culinary tourists are characterized by their openness to variety (KirshenblattGimblett, 2004). A tourist’s variety-seeking tendency with respect to food is manifested
in a demand for variety of culinary traditions, and/or a demand for variety within a
culinary system (Molz, 2004; Reynolds, 1993).
Molz’s (2004) ethnographic study of diners at Thai restaurants evidences the
demand for variety of culinary traditions as a form of variety-seeking tendency.
According to her, culinary tourists seeking ethnic dining experiences are set apart by their
demand for variety rather than seeking authentic differences. The subjects under study
not only went to Thai restaurants, but also frequently ate at Japanese, Korean, Caribbean,
Indian, Ethiopian, and several other ethnic restaurants. To these tourists, eating at a
variety of restaurants was more pleasurable and a crucial factor in their overall culinary
experience.
Availability of a variety of culinary experiences notwithstanding, the importance
of the presence of variety of dishes with reference to an indigenous culinary system is
also important to the tourists (Reynolds, 1993). In his longitudinal study of the menu
offerings at twenty-eight local restaurants in the island of Bali, Reynolds (1993) found
43
that the percentage of local Balinese dishes in tourist towns dropped from 52% of the
total dishes available per restaurant in 1988 to 16% in the year 1992. More than half of
the tourists interviewed complained about the lack of a wider selection of indigenous
dishes and rated it as an important criterion in their rating of overall tourist experience in
Bali.
From a destination’s perspective, the availability of a variety of dishes and the
presence of an array of ethnic restaurants that provide a multiplicity of culinary
experiences are considered important attributes of a tourist destination (Nield, Kozak, &
LeGrys, 2000; Sparks, Bowen, & Klag, 2003). These contribute to the overall image and
reputation of a destination, and ultimately the tourist’s satisfaction with the destination.
New York, London and San Francisco are examples of cities that have created a
reputation of “foodie” destinations not just by being representative of any single regional
cuisine or an iconic culinary system, but by the sheer variety of culinary cultures they
offer.
To summarize, literature suggests that the tourist’s variety-seeking tendency
towards food is a form of cultural experimentation. Moreover, according to the literature,
a destination’s ability to provide variety of culinary traditions along with a multiplicity of
dishes within a culinary tradition, undoubtedly adds to its overall attraction and
satisfaction as a holiday destination. Thus, tourism literature pertinent to food
consumption shows that variety-seeking tendency towards food plays a crucial role in
explaining participation in food related activities. The proposition arrived at reviewing
literature pertinent to variety-seeking tendency is stated next.
44
Proposition IV. Variety-seeking tendency towards food is positively related to
food tourism.
2.4.b.3 Hedonic Consumption
Hedonic consumption is a concept borrowed from the consumer behavior
literature, and is defined as, “those facets of consumer behavior that relate to the multisensory, fantasy and emotive aspects of one’s experiences with the products” (Hirschman
& Holbrook, 1982, p.92). The hallmark of hedonically valuable experience lies in the
aesthetic or the physical enjoyment it provides, resulting in increased arousal, heightened
involvement, perceived freedom, fantasy fulfillment, and escapism (Bloch & Richins,
1983; Hopkinson & Pujari, 1999).
With respect to food, hedonic attitudes of consumption involve an emphasis on
taste of food, a preference for cultural eating practices, a desire for complex, cultural
dishes or a desire for elaborate and extravagant foods, and a focus on the cultural practice
of eating food as well as the end benefits (LeBel, 2000; Wansink, Sonka, & Cheney,
2002, p.356). Further, it is not just purely a physiological sensation, such as the pleasure
felt on having a rich dessert or drinking alcohol. It is also a social pleasure, which for
example, occurs while having food and drinks with friends and family, emotional
pleasure ( e.g. food that evoke pleasant memories), and intellectual pleasure, such as
cooking a fine meal, appreciating finer foods, and consuming beverages (LeBel, 2000).
This is in contrast to the utilitarian attitudes of consumption, which are more goal
oriented, task related and rational. These involve a focus on functional aspects of food, a
preference towards simple cultural foods and dishes, a desire for practicality in food
45
consumption, and a focus on the end benefits of eating such as energy, calories or
nutrition (Wansink, Sonka & Cheney, 2002, p.356). With respect to dining out, satisfying
hunger, convenience, price, and efficiency of the service are indicators of utilitarian
attitudes (Park, 2004).
According to Spangenberg, Voss, and Crowley (1997) both the utilitarian and the
hedonic attitudes might operate on cognitive as well as affective levels. However, the
cognitive element dominates the utilitarian consumption attitude whereas the hedonic
attitude is dominated by affective element. Although, in general, the utilitarian attitudes
and the hedonic attitudes towards food have well-defined set of universal attributes, one’s
cultural background may sometimes define them. For example, diners at fast food
restaurants in Korea considered the standardized and efficient appearance of franchised
fast food exotic, and the fast food restaurants a fun place with novel ambience (Park,
2004) thereby showing a hedonic value to eating at fast food restaurants, and implying a
cultural relativity to these attitudes.
Hedonic Consumption Attitude and Food Tourism
In the literature where one sees an interface of food and tourism, food is viewed
as an element satisfying the sensation seeking need of the tourists, or something that
provides peak experiences to the tourists. Thus, food forms a hedonic component in the
overall tourism experience.
Analyzing the role of food in tourism, Boniface (2003) posits that the modern
tourist is in a constant need for a ‘high’ and for immediate gratification. Food and drink
provide sensory and tactile pleasure and satisfy that need more easily than any other
tourist attraction. A special taste and sensation of unusual food and drink, the pleasure of
46
discovering a new food or dish all contribute to hedonic experiences in travel. Quan and
Wang (2004) extend this proposition by stating that experiencing food can be a peak
experience provided the tourist considers the food of the destination an attraction and
activities related to food form a major part of the tourist’s itinerary. More importantly, for
food to provide peak tourist experiences, it should be in contrast to the tourist’s daily
experiences, in terms of either the dishes or presentation of the meal or the ambience.
With respect to food tourism per se, Mitchell and Hall (2003) state that food
tourism is hedonic in nature since food becomes an experiential rather than a functional
aspect of travel experience. According to them, tourists are motivated to participate in
food tourism because of their hedonic attitude towards food consumption and that the
essence of food tourism lies in its ability to satisfy the sensation seeking attitude of the
tourist. Further, they propose that the popularity of wine tourism is a classic example of
the significance of the hedonic attitudes as a part of travel experience. In a similar vein,
Long (2004) states that the culinary tourist experiences the culinary ‘Other’ for the sake
of experiencing it, and not out of the necessity of satisfying hunger. The pleasure derived
is aesthetic in nature and stems from the consumption of food and not what food
represents.
From the destination’s perspective, it is the tourist’s hedonic attitudes towards
food that makes local food a tourist attraction in its own right and as important as any
other attraction of a destination. Moeran (1983) and Boniface(2001) contribute to this
proposition by studying tourist brochures and destination advertisements respectively.
Moeran’s (1983) analysis of Japanese tourist brochures revealed that the emphasis of
tourism experiences was gradually shifting from that concentrating on the “sights” to that
47
of tourist experiences that involved “participation with their own skins” (p.96). The
brochures portrayed tourism as sensually more diverse. Tasting foreign food was depicted
as one of the hedonic experiences tourists could participate in and the key words in the
brochures centered on experiences and discovery as opposed to the passive and sedate
sightseeing. Similarly, Boniface’s (2001) analysis of contemporary advertisements of
tourist destinations revealed that there was a stress on the food and wine of the region as
a part of the destinations’ positioning strategy. She postulates that our fascination at home
with foreign food and wine, combined with the modern society’s emphasis on the
aesthetic enjoyment of food forms a dynamic, which stimulates people to try out newer
and more sensations when they travel. The advertisements promoting destinations’ food
and wine are a part of travel experience reflects this trend.
To sum up, as tourism is developing into becoming more experience oriented, and
as something that is more than just ‘gaze’ oriented (Urry, 2002), food has become a
medium of such an experience-based tourism. When the tourist’s attitude towards food is
hedonic rather than utilitarian, and the tourist views food as a part of the destinations
attractions or ‘pull factors,’ food provides a pleasurable and memorable experience. Thus,
experiencing the food of the destination becomes one of the motivations to travel, or at
least a significant part of the tourist’s overall activities, and ultimately provides peak
tourist experiences. This makes food tourism a natural consequence of hedonism (Telfer
& Hashimoto, 2003). The proposition arrived at from this review is presented below.
Proposition V. Hedonic consumption attitude towards food is positively related to
food tourism.
48
2.4.b.4 Enduring Involvement with Food Related Activities
The concept of enduring involvement, used in the social psychology and
marketing literatures for more than 45 years, is considered as an influential determinant
of consumer behavior and as a mediator of purchases and participation (Havitz &
Dimanche, 1999). In the last decade, leisure, recreation and tourism researchers have
identified this construct as an important variable that helps understand participation in
leisure activities and tourists’ vacation behavior (Dimanche, Havitz & Howard 1991;
Havitz & Dimanche 1999; Kyle, et al, 2004; McIntyre & Pigram, 1992).
Owing to the large number of studies examining this concept, there are several
definitions of involvement, both in consumer behavior and leisure and tourism studies. In
general, leisure involvement is defined as “an unobservable state of motivation, arousal
or interest towards a recreational activity or associated product, evoked by a particular
stimulus or situation and has drive properties” (Havitz & Dimanche, 1999, p.123).
Despite the debates about the dimensionality of the concept, with very few
exceptions (McQuarrie & Munson, 1987; Zaichkowsky, 1985), empirical evidence in
leisure research strongly supports the conceptualization of involvement as a multi
dimensional construct (Dimanche, Havitz, & Howard, 1991; Gahwiler & Havitz, 1998;
Havitz & Dimanche, 1997, 1999; Havitz, Dimanche, & Howard, 1993; Kerstetter &
Kovich, 1997; Kyle, Graefe, Manning, & Bacon, 2003; Kyle et al, 2004; Laurent &
Kapferer, 1985; McIntyre, 1989; McIntyre & Pigram, 1992; Wiley, Shaw, & Havitz,
2000). This construct has been attributed to personal values, ego-involvement,
importance and risk perceptions, interest, excitement, and enthusiasm for product class,
49
activities, or information, in that these constitute facets of involvement influencing
participation in a leisure activity and travel behavior patterns.
The most common dimensions of enduring involvement are importance pleasure,
sign, risk importance, and risk probability (Laurent & Kapferer, 1985), and in the context
of leisure include attraction, sign, centrality and risk (Havitz & Dimanche, 1999). Recent
studies on leisure involvement have reported dimensions such as social bonding, identity
affirmation, and identity expression, in addition to attraction and centrality (Kyle et al,
2004). These dimensions are of particular relevance to the current investigation because
as discussed earlier in the review of sociology of food literature, food consumption deals
with issues of identity expression, identity affirmation and social bonding.
Enduring Involvement and Food Tourism
In the food and tourism literature, involvement with food and food-related
activities in daily life is seen as a predictor of participation in food tourism (Long, 2004;
Mitchell & Hall, 2003; Sharples, 2003). Thus, there is a connection between involvement
and any special interest tourism, such as culinary tourism, in that the leisure activities
enjoyed at home are pursued even while vacationing in the form of niche tourism
activities (Brotherton & Himmetoglu, 1997). In the food tourism literature, the different
dimensions of enduring involvement (attraction and centrality) are stated as predictors of
participation in food tourism rather than enduring involvement per se.
Long (2004) states that culinary tourism highlights the complexity of tourist
involvement in food consumption in the sense that even though it is a physiological
50
necessity, the culinary tourist perceives food as a social and cultural resource, and his
involvement with food is related with those aspects rather than the physiological aspects.
Thus, attraction as a facet of enduring involvement drives participation in food tourism.
Centrality as a component of enduring involvement with food related activities is
indicated by making these activities an essential part of overall lifestyle activities.
Examples of such activities are eating at ethnic restaurants, viewing televised cooking
shows, cooking a range of styles of food at home, learning new techniques of food
preparation, experimenting with a wide range of cuisines, or having a hobby related to
food, such as collecting recipes and cookbooks (Long, 2004; Mitchell & Hall, 2003).
These again, are predictors of participation in food tourism.
By participating in food tourism, the tourists explore and reinforce their own
identity and explore the identity of the ‘Other’. According to Wilson (2004), “…food’s
declarative function and its ability to say something about the eater makes it a preeminent means of self expression” (p.250). Food is thus a doubly expressive medium of
identity expression and identity affirmation. At the same time, sharing with a group of
people, a food system that is not one’s own binds people by distinguishing the in-group
from the out-group. In her ethnography of Americans eating at Thai restaurants, Molz
(2004) concludes that by participating in the culinary system of the ‘Other,’ Americans
were validating their own individual identity and affiliating themselves with a particular
American identity, thus displaying social bonding- another dimension of enduring
involvement .
51
Finally, according to Wilson (2004), culinary tourists attribute sign value to eating
food in a multicultural setting and unconsciously or consciously use it as a means of
status differentiation. They perceive experiencing local food and cuisines as important
enough to make that a key part of their activities at the destination. The perceived sign
value attributed by the consumer to the product (food) is one of the dimensions of
involvement and is a significant stimulus in participation in food tourism.
To summarize, as tourism is becoming increasingly niche-oriented and activityoriented, tourists carry their interests over to their vacations and sometimes even select
destinations that offer them opportunities to take part in their favorite activities.
Analogous to that, people who show an enduring involvement with food use it as a
cultural and social resource around which they revolve their leisure activities. They are
involved with food related activities at home so much that it assumes centrality or
salience in their lives, stimulating them to participate in food related activities during the
vacation. Furthermore, people who show enduring involvement with food and food
related activities perceive food as a form of identity expression, identity affirmation and
social bonding. As per the review of the concept, identity expression, identity affirmation,
social bonding, sign value, and centrality are all facets of enduring involvement. The
proposition arrived on reviewing the literature is presented next.
Proposition VI Enduring involvement with food related activities is positively
related to food tourism.
Based on the propositions derived from the literature review, a conceptual
framework for explaining participation in food tourism is illustrated in Figure 2.1
52
Food
Neophobia
Variety-Seeking
Tendency
Food
Tourism
Hedonic
Consumption
Attitudes
Enduring
Involvement
Figure 2.1: Proposed conceptual framework for explaining participation in food tourism
2.4.c Limitations of the Conceptual Framework
As with any conceptual framework, the conceptual framework proposed for this
dissertation also suffers from inherent limitations. A discussion of the limitations of the
proposed conceptual framework follows next.
Religious Beliefs and Participation in Food Tourism
Religious beliefs and value systems have been suggested to be influential in determining
people’s food consumption patterns. This factor, which on a superficial level comes
across as food neophobia, may actually be due to the religious beliefs and values that
53
often prevent tourists from trying new food. Hassan and Hall's study (2003) of Muslim
tourists in New Zealand examines the role of religious beliefs in food consumption
patterns. The researchers found that lack of Hallal food prevents most Muslim tourists
from eating at restaurants while traveling and almost 55% of them prepare their own
food. The demand for Hallal food by Muslim travelers is often overlooked by
destinations. As a result, according to them, many destinations lose tourist revenues/
receipts to countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia, which offer the tourists
opportunities to consume food confirming to their religious belief system.
A few other studies, however, have shown that religious beliefs and other value
systems are not very influential in preventing tourists from participating in the foodways
of the other. Cohen and Avieli (2004) state that Israeli tourists are willing to be relaxed
about the ‘Kashrut laws’ when they are traveling and are open to experiencing most local
food, although unwilling to try culturally unacceptable foods like dog, cat, and reptile
meat. Similarly, Rotkovitz's study (2004) on Jewish tourists suggests that even though
they are likely to experience some kind of barrier when experimenting with unfamiliar
foodways, there is a more psychological openness to experimentation because travel is
transient in nature. The exotic in this case feels like a safe adventure, and religious beliefs
and value systems may not be much of a hindrance to trying the local fare. Thus, the
relevance of religious beliefs in explaining participation in food tourism has empirically
shown mixed support and therefore is excluded from the conceptual framework.
54
Authenticity and Participation in Food Tourism
The second limitation of the conceptual framework is with respect to the concept of
authenticity. The concept of authenticity has been a topic of extensive discourse in
tourism studies as a tourist motivation and as an integral part of tourist experience
( Cohen, 1979,1988; Hughes, 1995; MacCanell, 1973; MacCannell, 1973,1976;
Moscardo & Pearce, 1986; Pearce & Moscardo, 1986; Turner & Manning, 1988; Wang,
1999). Similarly, in the study of foodways, authenticity has been used, widely and often
contentiously, to understand social dynamics and identity construction through food
consumption (Appadurai, 1986; Lu & Fine, 1995; Molz, 2004). According to Sharpley,
(1994), authenticity connotes “traditional culture and origin, sense of the genuine, and the
real or the unique” (p.130). It is a concept that is especially relevant to heritage and
cultural tourism as it pertains to the depiction of the ‘Other’ and the past.
In the literature where food is studied as a component of tourism, the concept of
authenticity has been widely used (Alcock, 1995; Hughes, 1995; Jacobsen, 2000;
Kirshenblatt -Gimblett, 2004; Lu & Fine, 1995; Molz, 2004). However, this dissertation
does not consider authenticity as a part of the conceptual framework for several reasons.
To begin with, authenticity is perceived as an objective reality (MacCanell, 1973,
1976) and is culturally and historically specific. With respect to food, the quest for
authentic experiences cannot be seen as object related reality. Unlike a historical
monument or a famous work of art in a museum, which has remained the same for
centuries, cuisines are never static. They are constantly evolving and are a product of the
current ecological, political, and economic conditions, thus being reshaped much like the
culture itself (Bentley, 2004). Therefore, examining the quest for an objective
55
authenticity within the context of food tourism does not seem a logical and
opertionalizable exercise.
Another way of looking at authenticity has been to view it as a socially
constructed process (Cohen, 1988; Pearce & Moscardo, 1986). This perspective of
authenticity perceives authenticity as an interactive process, where both the tourists and
the tourism producers simultaneously negotiate in constructing authenticity. The tourists
project authenticity onto the tourist objects, which is based on their expectations, images
formed through media, their preferences, and what they believe is the authentic. At the
same time, the tourism producers work to provide the tourists what they assume the
tourists expect as the authentic. It is beyond the scope and the context of the dissertation
to measure a socially constructed process such as authenticity, in which the tourist and
the tourism producer have equivalent roles to play, by studying the tourist alone.
Particularly because this dissertation limits itself to social psychological concepts to
explain food tourism and analyzes the food tourism purely from a demand side of the
tourism system.
Lastly, ethnographic studies that have looked into authenticity as a motivation to
take part in the foodways of the ‘Other,’ have shown that authenticity is not of paramount
importance in the food experience (Lu & Fine, 1995; Molz, 2004). Tourists do not
consider authenticity a crucial factor when choosing to dine at ethnic restaurants. Even
though tourists are looking for the exotic and seeking authentic experience, it is not at the
expense of palatability and acceptability.
Given these arguments, the concept of authenticity seems complex and
contentious as a variable explaining participation in food tourism. Moreover, given the
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complicated and multifaceted nature of this concept, empirically examining the role of
authenticity in food tourism may be a topic in its own right for an academic thesis.
Hence, authenticity is not considered as a part of the proposed conceptual framework of
this dissertation in examining food tourism.
2.5 Sociodemographic Status and Food Consumption
Socioeconomic and demographic statuses are one of the most commonly used variables
to predict food consumption patterns. The term socioeconomic status refers to the level of
the social and economic position of people within society as revealed by various
indicators. The main social indicators used for most of the empirical studies are
education, employment, type of job, and the commonly used economic indicator is
annual household income. With respect to demographic status, the frequently used
indicators are age, gender, and marital status.
Social theorists and empiricists studying food consumption have generally looked
at the influence of socioeconomic and demographic variables on dining out, frequency of
eating out, money spent on food at home and outside the home (Bourdieu, 1984; Germov
& Williams,1999; McCracken & Brandt, 1987; McIntosh, 1996; Erickson, 1996; Warde,
1992; Warde & Martens, 2000; Warde, Martens & Olsen, 1999).
According to Douglas (1984), a strong relationship exists between socioeconomic status and food consumption such that when people change social class they
subsequently change their foods. Analyzing education’s influential role in food
consumption patterns, Goody (1982) and Symons (1991) theorize that societies whose
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populations have higher education have more differentiated cuisines. Education and
cuisine reflexivity are mutually reinforcing, with reflexivity defined as thinking,
discussing, and experimenting about food.
With respect to social indicators empirical studies have shown positive
significant association between education and eating out, eating at ethnic restaurants and
the number of places chosen for dining out (McCracken & Brandt, 1987; Warde
&Martens, 2000; Warde, Martens & Olsen 1999). Employment status as a social variable
showed strong association with the white collar occupational group having exposure to a
wider number of restaurants (Warde, Martens & Olsen, 2000) and eating at better or elite
restaurants (Erickson, 1996). Interestingly enough, Erickson (1996) found that there were
no significant difference between different occupational groups and eating at fast food
chains.
Household income is positively associated with the frequency of dining out,
consumption at ethnic restaurants, and breadth of exposure to ethnic restaurants
(McCracken & Brandt, 1987, Warde & Martens, 2000; Warde, Martens & Olsen 1999).
With respect to the influence of demographic variables on dining out, marital status
showed a significant association, with married people eating out more often (Smallwood,
Blisard, & Blaylock, 1991). Age showed a significant positive association with respect to
dining out, consumption at ethnic restaurants, and exposure to a wider variety of ethnic
restaurants (McCracken & Brandt, 1987, Warde & Martens, 2000; Warde, Martens &
Olsen 1999).
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Socioeconomic, Demographic Status and the Tourist’s Food Consumption
With respect to tourist food consumption, studies that have looked into the food
consumption of tourists have showed a strong association between socioeconomic status
and demographics with the tourist’s food consumption patterns.
According to Cohen and Avieli (2004), even though tourism has expanded into
the lower and lower middle classes in the Western society, when it comes to food
consumption they possess conservative tastes. Their exposure to foreign foods at home is
not substantial unless a food has reached the status of a world cuisine. This suggests that
there is a possibility of an association between socio-economic background and tourist
consumption of local food.
Smith (1983) and Zelinsky (1985) show empirical evidence of this association in
their respective studies that analyze the geographical distribution of restaurants. The
general socio-economic status, the level of affluence, education of the community, and a
high turnover of tourists are the factors affecting the distributions of ethnic restaurants.
Thus, an educated, urban community with a considerable discretionary income causes a
growth of diverse restaurants.
The importance of socio-economic variables has been studied extensively in wine
tourism (Carmichael, 2001; Charters & Ali-Knight, 2002; Dodd & Bigotte, 1997;
Williams & Dossa, 2001). These studies have provided empirical evidence of the wine
tourist as a relatively well-educated person belonging to the professional or managerial
class. Similarly, Cai, Hong, & Morrison's study (1995) on tourist’s food consumption (in
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terms of expenditures), showed that occupation was a significant factor, and education
was the most important predictor for a tourist’s expenditure on food at the destination.
Though income had a positive association with the tourist’s expenditure on food,
Cai, Hong and Morrison (1995) found that expenditure was income inelastic. Studies in
wine tourism also show a similar association, with income being one of the best
predictors of participation in wine tourism (Carmichael, 2001; Dodd and Bigotte, 1997;
Williams & Dossa, 2001).
With respect to demographic variables, Cai, Hong and Morrison’s study (1995)
found that the age group 25-34 spent less on food compared to tourists over 65 years, and
married tourists spent more on food than single tourists. In the studies concerning wine
tourism, Carmichael (2001) found the majority of the Niagara wine tourists to be
between the ages of 31-70 years, while Williams and Dossa (2001) found wine tourists of
British Columbia to be relative younger than the non-wine tourist.
To conclude, all these empirical studies reveal the significance of socio-economic
and some demographic variables in food consumption away from home. The importance
of these variables is also seen in tourism studies and the special interest market of wine
tourism. Tourism is a leisure activity and is more or less dependent on discretionary
income. Education plays a significant role in increasing one’s breadth of knowledge and
skills, including leisure skills. Further, tourists who travel for food or wine view it as an
investment in gaining more knowledge. Thus, overall, income and education are the most
significant predictors of the tourist’s food consumption, along with age, marital status,
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and occupation group showing sporadic instances of being significant predictors. All
these findings lead to the final set of propositions for the dissertation.
Proposition VII: Sociodemographic variables influence participation in food
tourism.
2.6 Synopsis of the Chapter
This chapter has reviewed the literature on globalization theory and the cultural
capital theory as theoretical foundations for explaining food tourism. This was followed
by a review of tourism literature that has focused on food with the objective of answering
the research questions posed in Chapter One. The review also resulted in the formulation
of propositions as the foundation for the hypotheses and the conceptual framework of the
current dissertation. Finally, previous empirical research on the relevance of socioeconomic and demographic variables in explaining food consumption was explored. The
next chapter presents the null and the alternative hypotheses for each of the research
questions of the dissertation and the research methods applied to test these hypotheses.
CHAPTER THREE
3. RESEARCH METHODS
This chapter explains the methods used to address this dissertation’s research
questions. First, the null and the alternative hypotheses are stated for each of the research
questions of the dissertation. The construction of the survey instrument is described next,
followed by the operationalization of variables, and a discussion on pre-testing the
survey. The next section examines the unit of analysis, describes the population under
study and the sampling design. Finally, the data collection process and the data analysis is
discussed.
3.1 Presentation of the Hypotheses
The hypotheses are stated sequentially as they relate to the research questions of
this dissertation presented in Chapter One. Both the null and the alternate hypotheses are
stated for each of the research questions.
Research Question 1: What are the underlying dimensions of food tourism?
H1: 1a Food tourism is not composed of multiple dimensions.
H1: 1b Food tourism is composed of multiple dimensions.
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Research Question 2: What variables explain participation in food tourism?
H2:1a Food neophobia is not related to any of the dimensions of food tourism.
H2:1b Food neophobia is negatively related to at least one dimension of food
tourism.
H2:2a Variety-seeking tendency is not related to any of the dimensions of food
tourism.
H2:2b Variety-seeking tendency is positively related to at least one dimension of
food tourism.
H2:3a Hedonic consumption attitude towards food is not related to any of the
dimensions of food tourism.
H2:3b Hedonic consumption attitude towards food is positively related to at least
one dimension of food tourism.
H2:4a Enduring involvement with food related activities is not related to any of
the dimensions of food tourism.
H2:4b Enduring involvement with food related activities is positively related to at
least one dimension of food tourism.
Research Question 3: Are there any differences in participation in food tourism with
respect to age, gender, marital status, occupation, education, annual income?
H 3: 1a: There is no significant difference in tourists’ participation in any of the
dimensions of food tourism and their age.
H 3: 1b: There is a significant difference in tourists’ participation in at least one
dimension of food tourism and their age.
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H 3: 2a: There is no significant difference in tourists’ participation in any of the
dimensions of food tourism and their gender.
H 3: 2b: There is a significant difference in tourists’ participation in at least one
dimension of food tourism and their gender.
H 3: 3a: There is no significant difference in tourists’ participation in any of the
dimensions of food tourism and their education.
H 3: 3b: There is a significant difference in tourists’ participation in at least one
dimension of food tourism and their education.
H 3: 4a: There is no significant difference in tourists’ participation in any of the
dimensions of food tourism and their marital status.
H 3: 4b: There is a significant difference in tourists’ participation in at least one
dimension of food tourism and their marital status.
H 3: 5a: There is no significant difference in tourists’ participation in any of the
dimensions of food tourism and their employment status.
H 3: 5b: There is a significant difference in tourists’ participation in at least one
dimension of food tourism and their employment status.
H 3: 6a: There is no significant difference in tourists’ participation in any of the
dimensions of food tourism and their annual household income.
H 3: 6b: There is a significant difference in tourists’ participation in at least one
dimension of food tourism and their annual household income.
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Research Question 4: Can tourists be segmented into homogenous groups based on their
participation in food tourism?
H 4:1a Tourists cannot be segmented into homogenous clusters based on their
participation in food tourism.
H 4:1b Tourists can be segmented into homogenous clusters based on their
participation in food tourism.
Research Question 5: What variables predict membership in each of the food tourist
clusters (formed as a result of the classification of tourists based on their participation in
food tourism)?
H5:1a Food neophobia does not predict membership in any of the food tourist
segments.
H5:1b Food neophobia predicts membership in one or more food tourist
clusters.
H5: 2a Variety-seeking tendency does not predict membership in any of the food
tourist clusters.
H4:2b Variety-seeking tendency predicts membership in one or more food tourist
clusters.
H4: 3a Hedonic attitude towards food does not predict membership in any food
tourist clusters.
H4: 3b Hedonic attitude towards food predicts membership in one or more food
tourist clusters.
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H4: 4a Enduring involvement with food related activities does not predict
membership in any of the food tourist clusters.
H4: 4b Enduring involvement with food related activities predicts membership in
one or more food tourist clusters.
Research Question 6: Is there an association between the food tourist clusters and age,
gender, marital status, occupation, education, and annual income of the tourists?
H 6: 1a: There is no significant association between the food tourist clusters and
the age of the tourists.
H 6: 1b: There is a significant association between the food tourist clusters and
the age of the tourists.
H 6: 2a: There is no significant association between the food tourist clusters and
the gender of the tourists.
H 6: 2b: There is significant association between the food tourist clusters and the
gender of the tourists.
H 6: 3a: There is no significant association between the food tourism clusters and
education of the tourists.
H 6: 3b: There is a significant association between the food tourism clusters and
the education of the tourists.
H 6: 4a: There is no significant association between the food tourist clusters and
the marital status of the tourists.
H 6: 4b: There is a significant association between the food tourist clusters and
the marital status of the tourists.
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H 6: 5a: There is no significant association between the food tourist clusters and
the occupation of the tourists.
H 6: 5b: There is a significant association between the food tourist clusters and
the occupation of the tourists.
H 6: 6a: There is no significant association between the food tourist clusters and
the annual household income of the tourists.
H 6: 6b: There is a significant association between the food tourist clusters and
the annual household income of the tourists.
3.2 Questionnaire Construction
This dissertation employed a mail survey to collect data. The questionnaire consisted of
six sections. The first section measured the frequency of the tourist’s participation in food
related activities at a destination. The second section measured respondents’ varietyseeking tendency towards food, followed by food neophobia in section three. The fourth
section measured respondents’ enduring involvement with food related activities, while
section five measured hedonic attitude towards food. The final section of the
questionnaire measured the respondents’ demographic and socioeconomic status. The
survey combined unipolar scale, Likert type scales and semantic differential scales.
The Human Subjects Committee of Clemson University reviewed and approved
the survey instrument. As with most academic research, the participants’ individual
responses were confidential and anonymous. Next, the process of constructing the
questionnaire is discussed.
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3.2.a Pilot Test of the Survey
Three pilot studies were conducted in March 2004 to test the survey and methods
of analysis. The main purpose of the pilot studies was to validate the items generated as
indicators of food tourism.
For the first pilot study, an online survey with the previously mentioned six
sections was posted on travel websites (Lonely Planet and Rough Guides Community).
The section of the questionnaire that measured frequency of participation in food tourism
had fifteen items indicative of food tourism. This questionnaire also had an open-ended
section asking respondents whether they faced any problems while completing the
questionnaire and whether there were any ambiguities with respect to any items on the
questionnaire. The first pilot study resulted in a sample of fifty–seven (N=57). The
analysis resulted in re-wording of the instructions and changes in the structure of the
questions on items that were either incorrectly understood, or showed some systematic
error.
The second pilot study was an on-site survey administered on tourists visiting
New Orleans. Sites which had a very high tourist visibility were selected, and tourists
were intercepted systematically (N= 63). The tourists were timed on the survey and were
asked for their feedback. The third pilot study was conducted on visitors to the annual
PGA golf tournament at Hilton Head, South Carolina. Hundred surveys along with a
business reply envelope were randomly placed on visitors’ cars. The response rate for this
survey was 35 %. The survey was edited once more based on the suggestions of the
respondents and after some more literature review, the final pilot study was conducted.
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The final pilot study was administered on students (N=42), who had been on a class trip
to New Orleans. Once again, the respondents were timed, as one of the concerns voiced
by the respondents of the second pilot study was the length of the survey.
3.2.b Operationalization of the Dependent
Variable: Participation in Food Tourism
The first and critical step in measuring ‘participation in food tourism’ was to
conceive a precise and detailed operationalization of food tourism within its theoretical
context. Food tourism was operationalized based on existing research, researcher
judgment, tourism educators, the respondents of the pilot studies, and the definition of
food tourism proposed in Chapter One. The approach used was a deductive one and
exploratory in nature.
After an extensive examination of the pertinent literature and three pilot studies,
twenty-nine items were generated that were indicative of food tourism. As mentioned
earlier, the creation of item pool went through an iterative process of exploratory factor
analysis after every pilot study. The item pool representing drinks and beverages was
added after the second pilot study. This was based on suggestions from the tourists that
consuming local beverages was an important component of food related activities at the
destination. Thus, the twenty-nine items that were generated to operationalize food
tourism represented each content area or the component of the proposed definition of
food tourism and were proportional to their importance in the literature. The major
categories of food tourism were:
a) eating at places serving local, regional or distinctive cuisines;
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b) visiting the primary or secondary producers;
c) visiting food festivals and specific locations for tasting and/or experiencing the
attributes of specialist food production region;
d) experiencing a particular type of food, or the desire to taste the dishes of a
particular chef;
e) purchasing of food and food related products to make it a part of daily life, or as
memorabilia;
f) consuming local drinks.
Participation in food tourism was operationalized as a continuous variable. In
leisure and recreation studies, the leisure activity scales constructed to measure
participation in leisure activities typically use unipolar scales. (Agnew & Peterson, 1989;
Bixler, 1994; Kelly, 1996; Yin, Katims, & Zapata, 1999; Yu, 1980). In addition, for the
unipolar scales, normally the respondents answer the frequency of their participation
from choices such as never, seldom and frequently (Spector, 1992). Following that
tradition, the respondents of the current investigation were asked how often they took part
in the list of food related activities while they were traveling for pleasure. The twentynine items were placed on a five point unipolar frequency scale with choices of 1= never,
2=rarely, 3= sometimes, 4=frequently, and 5= always. Table 3.1 displays the list of 29
items generated to measure food tourism.
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Table 3.1: Twenty-nine Items Generated to Measure Food Tourism
_____________________________________________________________________
1. Dine at places where food is prepared with respect to local tradition
2. Eat at restaurants where only locals eat
3. Attend a cooking school
4. At the destinations, I prepare food unique to the area I am visiting
5. Visit wineries
6. Purchase local food at the roadside stands
7. Dine at restaurants serving distinctive cuisines
8. Dine at restaurants serving regional specialties
9. Sample local foods
10. Eat at food festivals
11. Purchase local products to take back home
12. Buy cookbooks with local recipes to take back home
13. Buy local kitchen equipments to take back home
14. Dine at high quality restaurants
15. Go to restaurants just to taste the dishes of a particular chef
16. Make an advance reservation to dine at a specific restaurant
17. Consume local beverages and drinks
18. Observe a cooking demonstration
19. Visit a local farmer's market
20. Dine at themed restaurants
21. Dine at chain restaurants
22. Dine at fast food outlets
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23. Go to local brewpubs
24. Visit a brewery
25. Buy familiar pre-cooked food from supermarket
26. Prepare food at the place I am staying
27. Eat at places serving food I am familiar with
28. Eat at places that serve food that conforms to my belief system
29. Visit a food processing facility
______________________________________________________________________
3.2.c Operationalization of the Independent Variables
To measure the respondent characteristics on the four independent variables,
scales with established psychometric properties were used. Following is a detailed
discussion on each of the independent variable and their operationalization.
Food neophobia
The independent variable food neophobia was measured by the food neophobia
Scale (FNS) constructed by Pliner and Hobden (1992). The FNS is a one-dimensional
scale with ten items. This scale has demonstrated a reliability ranging typically from 0.80.9 (Hobden & Pliner, 1995; Otis, 1984; Pliner, Eng, & Krishnan, 1995; Pliner &
Hobden, 1992; Pliner & Melo, 1997; Pliner, Pelchat, & Grabski, 1993; Ritchey, Frank,
Hursti, & Tuorila, 2003; Tuorila, Lahteenmaki, Pohjalainen, & Lotti, 2001). According to
Pliner and Hobden (1992), studies have shown it to be significantly and positively related
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to anxiety, general neophobia, and the experience seeking subscale of the Sensation
Seeking Scale (Zuckerman,1979).
Ritchey, Frank, Hursti, and Tuorila, ( 2003) in their study aimed at determining
the validity of FNS conducted a cross-national comparison of the FNS using
confirmatory factor analysis. They recommended deleting items # 5 and # 7 of the FNS
as they do not seem to fit the overall scale. However, since theirs is the only study that
has recommended this, and to avoid any kind of error in measurement, all the ten items
from the original scale have been included in this dissertation. Table 3.2 displays the list
of the items on the food neophobia scale. The items are related on a five point Likert-type
scale with response categories labeled as follows: 1 =Strongly Disagree, 2= Disagree, 3=
Unsure, 4=Agree, 5= Strongly Agree. Items with (R) were recoded before analysis.
Table 3.2: Items on the Food Neophobia Scale
1. I am constantly sampling new and different foods. (R)
2. I don’t trust new foods.
3. If I don’t know what is in a food, I won’t try it.
4. I like food from different countries. (R)
5. Ethnic food looks too weird to eat.
6. At dinner parties, I will try a new food. (R)
7. I am afraid to eat things I have never had before.
8. I am very particular about the foods I will eat.
9. I will eat almost anything (R)
10. I like to try new ethnic restaurants (R)
______________________________________________________________________
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Variety-seeking Tendency with Respect to Food
Variety-seeking tendency with respect to food (variety-seeking, hereafter) is
measured using the VARSEEK scale constructed by (VanTrijp & Steenkamp, 1992).
This scale is specifically designed within the context of food consumption, and is not a
personality trait that could be generalized across products. At the same time, varietyseeking is an attitudinal characteristic of the consumer and not his purchase history. The
scale has eight items and shows a reliability coefficient of 0.90. It has demonstrated a
high degree of stability, with a stability coefficient for the composite scores being
0.81(p

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