Exploring the Role of Taste in Middle-Class Household Practices: Implications for Sustainable Food Consumption in Metro Manila and Bangalore

Authors: Marlyne Sahakian, Czarina Saloma and Sunayana Ganguly


Food consumption patterns and practices are undergoing changes in the mega-cities of South and Southeast Asia. Based on a qualitative, comparative case study, this article examines food consumption practices among middle-class households in Bangalore and Metro Manila. We demonstrate how taste preferences, shaped by and shaping food consumption practices, directly relate to increases in meat consumption, food packaging and household food waste—all areas of environmental significance. Taste preferences, which evolved over time, are explained through three inter-related dimensions: (a) the competencies involved in preparing food or eating out; (b) the material dimension of consumption, or products available in sites of food consumption; and (c) the different meanings attached to what makes for a tasty meal. The differences and similarities in food consumption practices between each research site provide insights into how food consumption practices might shift towards more sustainable pathways in Bangalore and Metro Manila, and in similar settings.

Affiliations: 1: University of Geneva ; 2: Ateneo de Manila University ; 3: Azim Premji University