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Sociocultural aspects of takeaway food consumption in a low-socioeconomic ward in Manchester: a grounded theory study
  1. Jennifer Blow1,
  2. Sumaiya Patel1,
  3. Ian G Davies2,
  4. Rebecca Gregg1
  1. 1 Health Professionals, Manchester Metropolitan University Faculty of Health Psychology and Social Care, Manchester, UK
  2. 2 Education, Health and Community, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Rebecca Gregg; r.gregg{at}


Objectives Takeaway foods form a growing proportion of the UK diet. This consumption is linked with poor health outcomes due to their adverse nutritional profile. However, there is little research regarding the sociocultural context surrounding the consumption of takeaway meals. This research aimed to explore the sociocultural factors that influence the consumption of takeaway foods.

Design The study employed constructivist grounded theory (GT) methodology. Data were collected using one-to-one semi-structured interviews from an inner-city area of Manchester (Rusholme). Data sorting and analysis was implemented using the GT constant comparative method.

Setting Rusholme, Manchester, UK.

Participants Adult participants (aged 18 to 65 years) consuming takeaway meals at least once/month were recruited using social media and community settings.

Results 13 participants were interviewed (female 69%, mean age=38 years). Three superordinate themes were derived from data: social factors, personal factors and resources. Social Factors included the influence of routines and traditions, influential others and a sense of community in the bonding and affirming of relationships. Personal Factors explored the subordinate themes of controlling damage and values relating to food choice. The third theme ‘Resources’ included time, availability, cost and quality.

Conclusion This study shows the sociocultural influences on food choice decisions are complex and may go beyond access and availability. Any policy change to limit takeaway consumption should acknowledge these vital processes in food choice to inform targeted effective approaches.

  • qualitative research
  • food choice
  • takeaway outlets
  • environment
  • choice architecture

This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See:

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  • Contributors JB collected data, performed the qualitative analysis and wrote the first draft of the paper. RG designed the methods, secured the funding and directed the qualitative research. SP contributed to the analysis of qualitative data and edited drafts, and IGD contributed to interpretation of data.

  • Funding The work presented in this paper was funded by an internal MMU Research Accelerators Grant, and used to fund a Masters by Research project.

  • Disclaimer The views expressed in the paper are that of the authors and not of any institution or funding body.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval Manchester Metropolitan University, Hollings Department.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement Additional data are available by emailing

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

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