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Meal identity as practice: Towards an understanding of business travellers' meal practices
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Food, Nutrition and Culinary Science.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8179-4628
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå University School of Restaurant and Culinary Arts. School of Hospitality, Culinary Arts and Meal Science, Örebro University, Grythyttan, Sweden.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Food, Nutrition and Culinary Science.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5464-5686
2020 (English)In: International Journal of Gastronomy and Food Science, ISSN 1878-450X, E-ISSN 1878-4518, Vol. 22, article id 100237Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Business travellers make up a large part of the customer base for the Swedish hospitality industry, accounting for 54% of the occupancy rate of Swedish hotels in 2018. Yet, very little is known about their meal habits while being at the destination of a business trip. This, even though the handling of meals in an environment that is less known to the traveller could add to the complexity of everyday life. Therefore, this study is aimed to explore actions performed by business travellers at the destination of travel as part of their meal practice with the purpose of elucidating the meal habits of this group. The research is theoretically framed within the context of social identity theory and social practice theory. A questionnaire was filled out by 538 Swedish business travellers recruited by means of self-sampling; 77% of the respondents were men, and 77% were above 45 years of age. The majority of the respondents, 67%, travelled over 50 days per annum, and 59% were located in the highest income quartile. The analysis of the data generated a general overview of the actions performed in relation to the meal, while also showing differences in actions taken based on income and gender. Women were significantly more price conscious than men and to a larger extent used technical assistance to find somewhere to eat. When travelling alone they also reported eating faster than at home and bringing back food and eat at the hotel room more often than men did. Men, in contrast, exhibited an inclination towards seeking social contexts to insert themselves in during dinners when travelling alone, as to be able to eat together with other people. The, relatively, lower income group showed more price consciousness as well as used the help of technical assistance to find somewhere to eat.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2020. Vol. 22, article id 100237
Keywords [en]
Business Travel, Meal Science, Sociology of food, Meal habits
National Category
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-173865DOI: 10.1016/j.ijgfs.2020.100237ISI: 000601297900009PubMedID: 32834884Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85089465426OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-173865DiVA, id: diva2:1456546
Funder
The R&D Fund of the Swedish Tourism & Hospitality Industry (BFUF)Available from: 2020-08-05 Created: 2020-08-05 Last updated: 2021-09-09Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Eat, Meet, Fly, Repeat: the contextuality of business travellers’ meals
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Eat, Meet, Fly, Repeat: the contextuality of business travellers’ meals
2020 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Meals are an important part of everyday life, both for the persons who engage in them and for the industry that makes them. For business travellers, meals are engaged in differently when they are travelling compared when they are home. Tens of millions of meals are engaged in each year by persons who are conducting business trips. Even though this group of people make up the largest group of customers for the Swedish hotels, research into their meals are virtually non-existent.

The aim of this thesis is to extend and deepen the knowledge about business travellers’ meals. This aim is approached by using both quantitative and qualitative methods, through a survey study and an interview study.

The results were then interpreted thought a practice theoretical framework. The results indicate that the meals of business travellers are contextual in nature and that their organisation is influenced by the practice bundle currently carried on by the business traveller. The meal is, furthermore, understood as part of practice-arrangement mesh, where the material arrangement conditions the facilitation of good meals. The meals of business travellers’ contain different ends than meals engaged in with friends and family, as such, a meal in which food of inadequate quality is served in an loud environment making the business traveller change behaviour could still be perceived as good due to the experiences of the business traveller’s clients.

The thesis proposes that the industry should engage more with their customers in order to accumulate knowledge of the different ends existing in their meal practice as a way of facilitating good meals. It does, furthermore, contribute to the theory on meals and eating out as it brings about a new way to conceive of good meals. It has also, as it is basic research, opened up for future inquiry into the meals of business travellers.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet, 2020. p. 65
Keywords
Meal science, meal practice, business travel, social practice theory
National Category
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-173867 (URN)978-91-7855-322-8 (ISBN)978-91-7855-323-5 (ISBN)
Public defence
2020-09-04, Triple Helix, Universitetsledningshuset, Umeå Universitet, Umeå, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2020-08-17 Created: 2020-08-05 Last updated: 2020-08-11Bibliographically approved

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Sundqvist, JoachimWalter, UteHörnell, Agneta

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