Ethnic food: A solution with sustainable food resources A study on consumer awareness of ethnic food and its impact on consumption attitude

Main Article Content

Article Sidebar

Published Sep 8, 2021
Ms Sahana Reddy N Dr Leena Fukey Ms Varynia Wankhar


Food has seen numerous transformations over the centuries and has been a focus of study pertaining to culture and evolution. Besides being a celebration of diversity and a marker of human adaptations, food is also a broad knowledge domain that represents various geographic, cultural and lifestyle outlooks. Ethnic food relates to a heritage or the culture of an ethnic group with them incorporating the local produce and animal sources into their diet. Ethnic food also has a sustainability aspect to it in terms of food miles and carbon emissions since more transportation involved means higher level of GHG released, economic aspect such as with composition changes and food security, and community relationship. This paper finds that when consumer awareness of ethnic food increases, the consumption attitude towards it does, too. This could be of importance in policy implementation and identifying sustainability systems. A connection with the land and a community relationship involving food could help represent more ethnic food, to increase awareness on a global level and also allow more people to experience these vast cultural diversities. If understood well and implemented, ethnic food could be of use as a tourism brochure, sustainability driver, economical promoter and community supporter

Ethnic foods definition encompasses – “Food originating from a heritage and culture of an

ethnic group who use their knowledge of local ingredients of plants and/or animal sources.”

This is in a narrow scope of it, however, since the term ‘ethnic food’ can be quite ambiguous. In a more comprehensive sense, ethnic food is defined as an ethnic group’s or country’s cuisine that is culturally and socially accepted by consumers outside of the respective ethnic group. Not a lot of research has been done in this area and this could be a potential area of interest since every country’s cuisine has its own story to tell, a unique history and different nutritional benefits. With the world slowly beginning to focus more on ethnic food today, there is a better chance of understanding cultural differences, and using history and food, as a part of a region’s identity. Research efforts being put into development of ethnic food means more opportunities for these unique cuisines to be in the spotlight and people around the world experiencing them (Kwon, 2015)


The reason behind taking up this particular topic is the vast amount of gap in existing research on food resources, food security and a general idea of where our culinary journey comes from and where it’s headed towards. With our exponentially growing population, it isn’t very surprising that our food resources are dwindling. We may have to look at alternative food sources. And as such, looking at ethnic cuisines which mainly comprise of local produce helps look at food resources from a broader perspective. Not only does this encourage more environmental consciousness, it also helps protect the chemical composition of food. It is important for us to understand our food sources in order to find more sustainable ways of consumption. However, like with any other school of thought, this concept too must be analysed before any real changes are made to the system. Because there are some challenges to implementing it. While the first thing to do would be to conduct more extensive research on ethnic food, it is also important to educate consumers. More conscious food choices does have an overall impact. Consuming local also means more attention to producing local.

Schnell, 2013 studies the implication behind the terms ‘local eating’ and place. Food miles which is a popular concept in discussions of local eating revolves around how far food travels before reaching the consumer. The role of considerations such as looking. of ways to reduce carbon footprints and food miles playing a part in the decision making, though not often as a vital motive for involvement is discussed.


In this research paper, we try to overcome the challenge of lower consumption of ethnic food. By first analysing the benefits of an increased consumption of ethnic food. We then identify how increasing consumer awareness of ethnic food could encourage consumption attitude towards this. The proposed hypothesis is that consumer awareness of the various implications of consuming ethnic food has a positive relation with their consumption attitude. There hasn’t been a lot of research done on exactly how ethnic food impacts the consumption environment or policy changes that can be made keeping this in mind. Understanding the consumer perception of ethnic food and how this could influence their consumption patterns helps us identify how to promote ethnic foods. Numerous cuisines and ingredients are slowly disappearing with changing economies. Globalization has resulted in the trade of culture and knowledge. However, some cuisines have had to adapt to fit the broader spectrum while some others have not been appreciated enough. And if we don’t come out with solutions, we might not be able to record these ethnic practices.

The main objectives of the paper is to understand the importance of ethnic food, analyse the relationship it has with awareness and evaluating the importance of the concept. This paper aims to provide a stepping stone for further research to improve communal eating habits with more sustainable food resources.

[1] Kwon, D. (2015). What is ethnic food. Retrieved 4 November 2020, from

[2] Schnell, Steven M. Agriculture and Human Values; Dordrecht Vol. 30, Iss. 4, (Dec 2013): 615-628


How to Cite

Reddy N, S., Fukey , L. ., & Wankhar , V. . (2021). Ethnic food: A solution with sustainable food resources: A study on consumer awareness of ethnic food and its impact on consumption attitude. SPAST Abstracts, 1(01). Retrieved from
Abstract 18 |

Article Details


ethnic food, local cuisine, culture, local economy, food security, sustainability, food attitude, tourism

[1] Kwon, D. (2015). What is ethnic food. Retrieved 4 November 2020, from
[2] Schnell, Steven M. Agriculture and Human Values; Dordrecht Vol. 30, Iss. 4, (Dec 2013): 615-628
SF1: Societies, Sustainability, Food and Agriculture