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“I cannot sit here and eat alone when I know a fellow Ghanaian is suffering”: Perceptions of food insecurity among Ghanaian migrants
- Osei-Kwasi, Hibbah Araba, Nicolaou, Mary, Powell, Katie, Holdsworth, Michelle
- Appetite 2019 v.140 pp. 190-196
- ancestry, at-risk population, economic factors, fearfulness, food banks, food choices, food security, gender, healthy diet, households, immigration, interviews, minorities (people), poverty, social class, social factors, social networks, social support, socioeconomic status, Ghana, United Kingdom
- In the UK, ethnic minority groups tend to have higher levels of poverty than the white British population and therefore may be at high risk of food insecurity. Ghanaians, living in Ghana or as migrants are thought to have a high level of social support in their communities, but the role of this resource in relation to food security is unknown. We explored participants’ perceptions of social and economic factors influencing food security among Ghanaian migrants in Greater Manchester.Participants aged ≥25 years (n = 31) of Ghanaian ancestry living in Greater Manchester were interviewed using a semi-structured interview guide developed by the researchers. Participants varied in socioeconomic status (SES), gender and migration status. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed thematically using a framework approach.Participants offered similar accounts of the social and economic factors influencing food security. Accounts were based on participants' perceptions and/or personal experiences of food insecurity within the community. Participants indicated that they and their fellow Ghanaians can ‘manage’ even when they described quite challenging food access environments. This has negative implications on their food choices in the UK. Participants reported food insecure households may be reluctant to make use of food banks for fear of ‘gossip’ and ‘pride’. Paradoxically, this reluctance does not extend to close network. Many participants described the church and other social groups as a trusted base in which people operate; support given through these channels is more acceptable than through the ‘official context’. Government assisted food banks could partner with the social groups within this community given that these are more trusted. Keywords: food insecurity; food choice; social networks; Ghanaians; healthy eating; migrants.