Assessing The Retailing Of Food In UK And Its Implication On Growth

Environmental Conditions and Health Disparities

The main aim of this project is to assess the retailing of food in U.K. along with its implication on the growth of the food retailing. This concentration in the retailing of food in U.K. has been experienced due to the consolidation as well as the decline of small stores over a long term. This consolidation has impacted the choice of the consumers to a huge extent. The study will be conducted on the basis of the conclusion given by the U.K. Competition Commission (2000). The degree of providing adequate choice to the consumers depends on the local circumstances. In this project, a specific issue will be addressed by assessing the changes in the provision of retail between 1980 and 2002 in a locality of Portsmouth. Data has been collected from the people of Portsmouth. Data will be collected by both qualitative and quantitative surveys. With the help of these surveys, the condition of different households and their behaviors and the provision of the local retail experiences can be understood.

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In the promotion of health disparities one of the most significant reasons are the environmental conditions. It is having been understood that the ethnic or the racial minority neighbourhoods are very much affected by the rates of morbidity. In addition to this, the mortality rates also affect the minority neighbourhoods.

The reasons for these disparities are certain factors which include the residential segregation, the neighbourhood deprivation and even extreme poverty conditions. The previous studies which focus on the health effects of deprivation in the neighbourhoods have reported certain noteworthy facts. It is due to the reason that the minority neighbourhoods have increased amount of exposure to the unhealthy advertisements of alcohol and tobacco which are ultimately detrimental to the communities. In addition to this there is the dearth of supermarkets in such areas which can offer affordable and health food items and also due to fewer pharmacies. The phrase “food desert” was used in the country of Scotland by residents of a public housing sector scheme. Different researches have used that phrase differently (Jiao et al., 2012).

There are several available definitions of the food deserts. They have been defined as urban areas having fewer than 10 stores. Other definitions have been used to mean that these places are poor urban areas where the residents cannot buy food which is either healthy or affordable. Other than these explanations there is a lack of consensus on any suitable definition (Mohan, 2013).

Factors Contributing to Food Deserts

The growth of several large chain supermarkets specifically in the outskirts of the areas near inner-cities is responsible for offering customers a better quality, price and even a variety of food options. Other reasons for the choice of these kind of supermarkets are the availability of better parking options and their longer business hours. Due to these supermarkets and their rapid growth the smaller and comparatively inconvenient stores have closed thereby leading to their decline as a whole. Thus the affordable and variety of food options are available specifically to those people who stay in areas which are either close to the outskirts or those who have means of personal conveyance (Karpyn, Young & Weiss, 2012).

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A different theory of the food deserts being formed in the inner cities are due to the reasons in the demographic factors of the US cities. At the time period in the 1970’s and 80’s the financial separation was a significant issue with increasing number of households emigrating from inner city areas to the suburban areas. As a result the median income in the outer cities decreased and therefore it was responsible for the closing down of fifty percent of the supermarkets in three of the largest US cities (Donald, 2013).

There are other factors which are responsible for the closing down of the stores and decline in the overall business establishment in the inner cities. These are the mostly wrong perceptions of these areas, the decreasing demand for low skilled workers and the competition concerning the low wages in the markets internationally (Lamichhane et al., 2013).

In the urban areas it is difficult for the gaining of space necessary for the supermarkets as it is difficult to find appropriate area of land which is required for the establishment of supermarkets as the lands are often fragmented and they are sold separately. In the urban areas often the economic aspects of establishment override all other reasons for the setting up in the areas despite the ability to meet unmet demands, large labour forces among others (Thornton et al., 2012).

The detrimental impact of the dearth of the supermarket access is the increased exposure of the residents to the empty calorie and highly unhealthy food items which are available at the convenience stores and the fast food joints nearby. The processed foods contain high percentages of sodium, sugar and fat which is responsible for poor health conditions as compared to the results after having carbohydrate and fibre rich food items (Lamichhane et al., 2013).

Effect of Large Chain Supermarkets on Small Stores

A lack of finances is a contributing factor for unhealthy eating and the high price associated with the healthy food items is also a deterrent. It is not unknown that people jabe an inclination to make their food choices based on those food joints which are available in their immediate vicinity. Thus neighbourhood food environment is responsible for impacting food choices of the residents in the areas. 

This research is mainly done with the aim to assess the factors that can affect retail food marketing in the Portsmouth area. This analysis is done both qualitatively and quantitively. The qualitative analysis part is conducted using the software NVivo and the quantitative analysis is performed with the help of the statistical software SPSS. The data for quantitative analysis has been collected as result of a survey questionnaire. The final dataset contains the responses of 430 individuals on 55 categories. Not all categories will be considered in this research. The effect of some of the identified factors on food marketing will be discussed. In order to do that, the variables that has been identified are whether grocery shopping is important, do they buy the products at a high price if the product is of good quality, how many cars are there in the household, the area in which they live and the time they spend on shopping. The hypothesis can be framed as follows:

Null hypothesis: There is no relationship or association between the variables selected.

Alternate Hypothesis: There is association between the variables selected.

The next part will be the qualitative analysis. This is done using the text analysis software NVivo. There were 8 interview transcripts on which the qualitative analysis has been performed. The data has been obtained as a result of a survey. The questions of the interview were asked to the main grocery shopper of the house, who is also a resident of the Portsmouth area. Face to face interview was conducted to obtain this data. Food and clothing are two main necessities of people. Thus qualitative analysis has been done on the transcripts and the parts in which the interviewee spoke about food has been discussed. Quantitative analysis has been done on grocery shopping.

The summary of the variables considered are given in the following table.

Table 1: Statistics

grocery shopping usually enjoyable

buy good quality food even if higher prices

how many cars in household

what time usually shop

area

N

Valid

423

425

418

427

430

Missing

7

5

12

3

0

It can be seen clearly from table 1 that there are missing observations in the data. For the variable enjoying the grocery shopping, there are 7 missing observations out of 430 observations. Thus, these missing observations are not supposed to affect the responses. Similarly, for the variable buying good products at higher prices, there are 5 missing observations. 12 missing observations have been recorded for the number of cars owned by a household in Portsmouth and three missing observations for the time of shopping. There are no missing observations for the area in which the residents are residing. Thus, it can be said that these variables having missing values are the kind of variables, information about which are not comfortably shared by everyone.

Table 2: grocery shopping usually enjoyable

Frequency

Percent

Valid Percent

Cumulative Percent

Valid

strongly agree

16

3.7

3.8

3.8

agree

176

40.9

41.6

45.4

neither ag or disag

88

20.5

20.8

66.2

disagree

119

27.7

28.1

94.3

strongly disagree

24

5.6

5.7

100.0

Total

423

98.4

100.0

Missing

99

7

1.6

Total

430

100.0

Demographic Factors and Decline of Inner City Stores

From table 2, it is very clear that most of the people do enjoy grocery shopping. Around 41.6 percent of the people of Portsmouth greatly enjoys grocery shopping. Almost 28.1 percent of the people of the suburb are there who do not enjoy the grocery shopping as well. Thus, there is quite high percentage of people who do not like to shop for grocery. 20.5 percent of the people are neutral about the matter. They neither enjoy nor hate the shopping. They just shop as they must shop to eat. Figure 1 shows the distribution of the responses of the individuals.

Figure 1: Responses for enjoying grocery shopping 

Table 3: buy good quality food even if higher prices

Frequency

Percent

Valid Percent

Cumulative Percent

Valid

strongly agree

41

9.5

9.6

9.6

agree

245

57.0

57.6

67.3

neither ag or disag

52

12.1

12.2

79.5

disagree

80

18.6

18.8

98.4

strongly disagree

7

1.6

1.6

100.0

Total

425

98.8

100.0

Missing

99

5

1.2

Total

430

100.0

It is always important to have good quality food. Thus, the preference of the people should be on the quality of the food. The price of the food or grocery item should also be given attention, but the main attention must be on the food quality. Buying a low quality product at a very cheaper price will not be healthy at all. Thus, the food quality must be given the first preference in this case. From table 3, it can be seen clearly that 57.6 percent of the people do give preference to the food quality before the price. It is quite evident that if a person sells a good product at a very high price, then it should not be bought. Otherwise, if a quality product is within a reasonably higher price range, people should go for the food and not for the money. Figure 2 shows the responses diagrammatically. 

Figure 2: Responses for buying quality food at higher prices

Table 4: how many cars in household

Frequency

Percent

Valid Percent

Cumulative Percent

Valid

0

59

13.7

14.1

14.1

1

196

45.6

46.9

61.0

2

149

34.7

35.6

96.7

3

12

2.8

2.9

99.5

4+

2

.5

.5

100.0

Total

418

97.2

100.0

Missing

99

12

2.8

Total

430

100.0

There can be a relationship between number of cars owned by a household and the grocery shopping. Nowadays, most of the people in the household are working and thus there must be scarcity of time to go for grocery shopping. Hence, the people tend to shop for the resources that can be required for the whole week in a day. There will be a lot of stuffs to buy and having a car will help them to carry the products easily. On the other hand, not all people are this busy to shop on a particular day. It can be seen that most of the people in the household own one car or two cars depending on their needs. The number of cars owned by the households is shown graphically. 

Figure 3: Number of cars owned by a household

Table 5: what time usually shop

Frequency

Percent

Valid Percent

Cumulative Percent

Valid

5 am-8 am

7

1.6

1.6

1.6

noon-5 pm

94

21.9

22.0

23.7

9 pm-5 am

4

.9

.9

24.6

8am-noon

170

39.5

39.8

64.4

5 pm-9 pm

53

12.3

12.4

76.8

no particular time

99

23.0

23.2

100.0

Total

427

99.3

100.0

Missing

99

3

.7

Total

430

100.0

Impact of Dearth of Supermarket Access on Residents

It can be seen from table 5 that most of the people shop between 8 am and 12 noon. Almost 39.8 percent of the people of Portsmouth shop for grocery in this time. 23.2 percent of the people do not have a fixed time to shop for grocery. And 22 percent of the people shop between noon and 5 pm. 

Table 6: area

Frequency

Percent

Valid Percent

Cumulative Percent

Valid

low income/Paulsgrove

99

23.0

23.0

23.0

low/middle/ Purbrook

93

21.6

21.6

44.7

middle /Drayton

64

14.9

14.9

59.5

high /Cavendish

84

19.5

19.5

79.1

middle/high/ Farlington

39

9.1

9.1

88.1

very rich

51

11.9

11.9

100.0

Total

430

100.0

100.0

Depending on the area in which the respondents live, there can be grocery shopping by the households can vary. Most of the people belong to the low income group and reside in Paulsgrove. 23 percent of the people are of the lower income group. 2.16 percent of the people belong to the lower middle class of the society and they reside in the suburb of Purbrook. Only 9.1 percent of the people of the society can be classified in the middle high class of the society and reside in Farlington.

It has already been discussed that the factors that has been chosen has influence on the grocery shopping. Now, whether there is any association between the variables has been discussed with the help of correlation analysis. Table 7 gives the values of the correlation coefficient between the variables. It can be seen that there is a negative and very poor relation between the enjoyment of grocery shopping and buying good quality food even at higher prices. The people who enjoy grocery shopping shop for themselves and buy whatever they want irrespective of the quality or price of the products. There is a positive relationship between the enjoying grocery shopping and owning cars. From here, it can be said that the people who own cars can come for shopping any time they want. They do not have any problem of transportation. There is a weak negative relationship between the enjoying grocery shopping and time of shopping. Area is almost uncorrelated with the grocery shopping. From here, it can be said that all people need to eat, whether they belong to the high society or low. Thus, there is no dependence of shopping for grocery and area.

Table 7: Correlations

grocery shopping usually enjoyable

buy good quality food even if higher prices

how many cars in household

what time usually shop

area

grocery shopping usually enjoyable

Pearson Correlation

1

-.031

.202**

-.048

-.004

Sig. (2-tailed)

.529

.000

.323

.939

N

423

420

411

420

423

buy good quality food even if higher prices

Pearson Correlation

-.031

1

-.107*

.006

-.204**

Sig. (2-tailed)

.529

.029

.894

.000

N

420

425

413

422

425

how many cars in household

Pearson Correlation

.202**

-.107*

1

.066

.294**

Sig. (2-tailed)

.000

.029

.182

.000

N

411

413

418

417

418

what time usually shop

Pearson Correlation

-.048

.006

.066

1

-.097*

Sig. (2-tailed)

.323

.894

.182

.045

N

420

422

417

427

427

area

Pearson Correlation

-.004

-.204**

.294**

-.097*

1

Sig. (2-tailed)

.939

.000

.000

.045

N

423

425

418

427

430

**. Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).

*. Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed).

Qualitative analysis has been performed on the interview transcripts. Various people reside in various suburbs of Portsmouth. They belong to the different groups of income. From the interview, the consumption of the people performing the interview has been extracted. Some of the respondents prefer to eat and some others do not due to the high prices of the cakes. People prefer regular food more than fancy food. Thus “We need to encourage consumers to make choices”. It is also said that “but we also need consumers to change what they are”. It has been observed that “basically, that people are consuming less”. Thus, to increase this crisis for the fancy food sector, “faced in promoting sustainability to consumers”.

Conclusion

It has been observed from the qualitative analysis that the people prefer to shop for groceries more than fancy foods like cake, pastries. For the consumption of these, price comes into effect. For these goods, the price is not compromised for the quality of the product. People do not eat the particular product much if the price is high. Shopping for regular groceries is very important. It has been observed that there are a lot of people who enjoy shopping for groceries. A lot other people hate to shop for it but are forced to, in order to fulfil their daily needs.

References

Donald, B. (2013). Food retail and access after the crash: rethinking the food desert problem. Journal of Economic Geography, 13(2), 231-237.

Jiao, J., Moudon, A. V., Ulmer, J., Hurvitz, P. M., & Drewnowski, A. (2012). How to identify food deserts: measuring physical and economic access to supermarkets in King County, Washington. American journal of public health, 102(10), e32-e39.

Karpyn, A., Young, C., & Weiss, S. (2012). Reestablishing healthy food retail: changing the landscape of food deserts. Childhood Obesity (Formerly Obesity and Weight Management), 8(1), 28-30.

Lamichhane, A. P., Warren, J., Puett, R., Porter, D. E., Bottai, M., Mayer-Davis, E. J., & Liese, A. D. (2013). Spatial patterning of supermarkets and fast food outlets with respect to neighborhood characteristics. Health & place, 23, 157-164.

Mohan, R. (2013). To identify the factors impacting customer satisfaction in food retail supermarkets. International Journal of Research and Development–A Management Review, 2.

Thornton, L. E., Cameron, A. J., McNaughton, S. A., Worsley, A., & Crawford, D. A. (2012). The availability of snack food displays that may trigger impulse purchases in Melbourne supermarkets. BMC Public Health, 12(1), 194.