Fast Food in the Greater Accra Region of Ghana: Characteristics, Availability and the Cuisine Concept

By Rose Omari, Joost Jongerden, George Owusu Essegbey, Godfred Frempong and Guido Ruivenkamp.

Published by Food Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal

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Fast food has been extensively debated but most studies have focused on one or two of its characteristics. Using the cuisine concept, we propose a more comprehensive approach to the study of fast food characteristics and availability, while taking cultural context into account. The objectives of this paper are to explore the usefulness of the cuisine concept and to provide some insight into fast food characteristics and its availability in the Greater Accra Region (GAR) of Ghana. We used quantitative and qualitative approaches to obtained data from restaurateurs and consumers in GAR. The study showed that fast food in GAR comprised “globally recognized popular fast foods” including French fries, pizzas, and fried rice, and some traditional Ghanaian foods such as jollof rice, banku with tilapia, and kelewele. The foods, usually hot and spicy, were mainly obtained from restaurants and check-check vendors, eaten with cutlery, fingers or both, together with a drink, and mostly in the company of other people. In total, 68% of restaurants in GAR were fast food restaurants. The cuisine concept enabled us explore more fast food characteristics than what were done in previous studies. The availability of fast foods signals the need for more research to improve our understanding of its contribution to food security and its link with health, culture and environment. We encourage researchers to explore the cuisine concept and identify new significant research questions for advancing the field of food studies.

Keywords: Cuisine Concept, Greater Accra Region, Fast Food Availability, Fast Food Characteristics, Globally Recognized Popular Fast Food

Food Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, Volume 1, Issue 4, pp.29-44. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 738.625KB).

Dr Rose Omari

Research Scientist, Science and Technology Policy Research Institute, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Sociology and Anthropology of Development, Wageningen University, Accra, Netherlands

Rose Omari is currently a Ph.D student at the Wageningen School of Social Sciences, Wageningen University, Netherlands. Her Ph.D research is about the transformation of food consumption in Ghana with the emergence of the fast food industry. She obtained an M.Phil degree in food science in 2001 and a BS.c degree in biochemistry and food science in 1997 from the University of Ghana. She worked in the Women in Agricultural Development Directorate of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture for three years. There, She was involved in transfer of food processing technologies, training and educating food processors, mainly women, on food safety and nutrition issues and participating in food and agriculture policy development. She joined the Science and Technology Policy Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in 2006 where She is involved in conducting policy research in food and agricultural issues. Her areas of interest are food safety, food policy, food law and governance, socio logy of food consumption and nutrition.

Dr. Joost Jongerden

Assistant Professor, Sociology and Anthropology of Development, Sociology and Anthropology of Development, Wageningen University, Wageningen, Netherlands

Joost Jongerden is a rural sociologist by training with a Ph.D in social sciences. He is associated to the Sociology and Anthropology of Development group at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. His research and teaching covers three fields: rural development studies, technology studies and conflict studies. He published several articles and books and presented various papers on the social construction of space, technology and the production of identities, and conflicts involved. In his work he has a strong area focus on Turkey and Kurdistan, but he is also involved in research in the Netherlands, India, Ecuador and Ghana.

Dr. George Owusu Essegbey

Director, Science and Technology Policy Research Institute, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Accra, Greater Accra Region, Ghana

Dr. George Owusu Essegbey is the Director of the Science and Technology Policy Research Institute of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, Ghana. He holds a Ph.D. degree in Development Studies from the University of Cape Coast, Ghana. His research interests are innovation and technology development and transfer, biotechnology, and emerging technologies.

Dr. Godfred Frempong

Deputy Director, Science and Technology Policy Research Institute, Science and Technology Policy Research Institute, Accra, Ghana

Dr. Godfred Frempong is the Deputy Director of the Science and Technology Policy Research Institute of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, Ghana. He holds a Ph.D. degree in Sociology from the University of Ghana. His research interests are science and technology policy, small and medium scale enterprises, telecommunications, and biotechnology.

Dr. Guido Ruivenkamp

Professor and Head, Critical Technology Construction (CTC), Sociology and Anthropology of Development, Wageningen University, Wageningen, Netherlands

Guido Ruivenkamp is chairing the CTC group, and currently leading a number of interdisciplinary research programmes. After completing his studies in Sociology at the University of Leiden (1977), he worked for several years at the University of Milan as research assistant at the “Dipartimento di Scienze del Territorio”. In 1984 he started his Ph.D research “The introduction of biotechnology into the agro-industrial chain of production: changing over towards a new form of labour organisation” at the University of Amsterdam (1984–89). He has subsequently been appointed as senior agricultural researcher at the Centre for Technology and Policy Studies of the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO-STB), and has been the director of the Centre for Agriculture and Biotechnological Developments of the (Dutch) Western Farming and Horticultural Organisation (WLTO). In 1993, he started working as assistant professor for the Technology and Agrarian Development (TAD) group of Wageningen University, where he set up a new reseach and educational programme. In 2005, he was appointed associate professor at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, and one year later he initiated the Critical Technology Construction group as a new platform for critical constructivist studies into the relation between modern technologies and social relations.