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Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence



Publication Details

A dissertation successfully submitted to the Dublin Institute of Technology in partial fufilment of the requirements of the MSc in Culinary Innovation and Food Product Development, September, 2014.


The current global recession has affected almost all countries whose economies adhere to free-market principles and are involved in international money markets. Ireland, along with the majority of its European trading partners both inside and outside the eurozone has seen a sharp fall in the standard of living of its citizens in the years since the financial crisis emerged (2007 to present). In common with the almost universal international paradigm, Irish citizens have had drastic austerity measures imposed upon them. In Ireland’s case, the underwriting of private banking debt and its subsequent conversion to sovereign debt served to contract the economy and to send the country into recession. This has left many households to manage on a severely reduced budget. As food is one of the pre-requisites for life, its nutritional value cannot be reduced by much or for long without affecting the health of the household so this means that when prioritising the household budget, decisions regarding food are fundamental to the process.

This study examines how the current recession has affected the domestic food purchasing and cooking habits of people living in Dublin.

The main research question is:

Austerity in 21st century Dublin: has recession altered our relationship with food purchasing and preparation?

The study collected data from 157 valid questionnaires and ten interviews drawn from a cross-section of the community and measured behavioural patterns and attitudes in order to formulate the conclusions. The findings are that, in short, the recession has had an impact on everyday food purchasing and preparation and this is not only restricted to those trying to provision the household on a reduced budget.

The research shows that price has become the number one consideration when choosing a retail outlet but not to the detriment of the nutritional value of the household shopping. There has been a return to traditional multi-outlet shopping. Home-cooking from scratch has shown an increase and this motif is underpinned by an increased purchase of base ingredients. The resurgence of home-cooking is replacing take-away food and eating out as a meal solution with the take-away now being used primarily as a luxury or treat.

In conclusion, people have developed a strategic approach to purchasing aimed at maintaining the nutritional value of the domestic grocery trolley with the most influential factor being a desire for good quality food at an affordable price.