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This research study examines the role that the artisan food producer plays, as a food tourism provider, in food in tourism in Ireland. With the increasing convergence of food and tourism, food in tourism has become both a lever for economic prosperity as well as a draw for visitors who are seeking authentic food experiences that connect them to people, place and culture. Sitting between production and consumption, artisan food producers, as purveyors of handcrafted foods, are uniquely placed to meet visitors’ expectations and help achieve these economic objectives. Considering then, the important role they play, and look set to continue to play, their voice is conspicuously absent from the literature. Consequently, this study aimed to provide a more detailed view of the artisan food producers’ role in food in tourism in the everyday, from a lived experience perspective, using a phenomenological paradigm, to add their voice to the literature. Ten semi-structured interviews were conducted, and thematic analysis was used as part of the methodological approach, resulting in four subordinate themes developing from the data findings.
The research findings provide a more in-depth and nuanced view of the artisan food producer than was previously available, in terms of their motivations, focusing on areas such as passion and education, while also highlighting a number of key challenges and obstacles they face as small producers, while navigating the complex operating environment they exist in, from a government and agency perspective. The findings also examine the food in tourism experience they provide and considers some emerging themes such as risk of loss of the artisan food producer and food fraud, all experienced by them in their food in tourism role.
While adding their voice to the literature, these findings also suggest that there are opportunities to restructure the administrative frameworks that currently exist to enable rather than impede success, while also recognising in parallel that a representative artisan food producer council could strengthen their position within the food and tourism landscape, helping to address a number of the key challenges identified. The findings also indicate that efforts are required to combat the issue of food fraud, understanding the severe impact it can have on both the artisan food producer and Ireland’s food in tourism reputation, and offers opportunities for further research.
O'Flynn, R. (2021). Food in Tourism and the Role of the Artisan Food Producer in Ireland: A Phenomenological Study. Technological University Dublin. DOI: 10.21427/QKA6-E058