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Purpose The purpose of this paper is to investigate the perceptions of food anti-consumption in fast growing markets within an emerging economy context of Turkey. Design/methodology/approach Recently posted customer comments, complaints and suggestions related to the selected fast-food chains were examined from the following domains: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and These comments were reviewed, assessed and classified by four trained independent raters. After examining the comments one-by-one the raters arrived at the final (triangulated) decision regarding the comment’s category after an iterative process including cross-examination. Findings Reasons for fast-food avoidance were primarily linked to customers’ negative past experiences (experiential avoidance). Identity avoidance, moral avoidance and interactivity avoidance. Originality/value The paper adds to the anti-consumption literature by examining the food avoidance framework of Lee et al. (2009) in an emerging market context. New categories were identified for reasons of food avoidance which have not been identified before in the anti-consumption literature such as interactivity avoidance.
British Food Journal
Social media analysis of anti-consumption in Turkey
Mohammad Saud Khan, Djavlonbek Kadirov, Ahmet Bardakci, Rehan Iftikhar, Tamer Baran, Murat
Kantar, Nazan Madak,
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Mohammad Saud Khan, Djavlonbek Kadirov, Ahmet Bardakci, Rehan Iftikhar, Tamer Baran, Murat
Kantar, Nazan Madak, (2018) "Social media analysis of anti-consumption in Turkey", British Food
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Social media analysis of
anti-consumption in Turkey
Mohammad Saud Khan and Djavlonbek Kadirov
Victoria Business School, Victoria University of Wellington,
Wellington, New Zealand
Ahmet Bardakci
Pamukkale Universitesi, Denizli, Turkey
Rehan Iftikhar
School of Computing, Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland
Tamer Baran
Pamukkale Universitesi, Kale, Turkey, and
Murat Kantar and Nazan Madak
Pamukkale Universitesi, Denizli, Turkey
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to investigate the perceptions of food anti-consumption in fast
growing markets within an emerging economy context of Turkey.
Design/methodology/approach Recently posted customer comments, complaints and suggestions
related to the selected fast-food chains were examined from the following domains: Facebook, Instagram,
Twitter and These comments were reviewed, assessed and classified by four trained
independent raters. After examining the comments one-by-one the raters arrived at the final (triangulated)
decision regarding the comments category after an iterative process including cross-examination.
Findings Reasons for fast-food avoidance were primarily linked to customersnegative past experiences
(experiential avoidance). Identity avoidance, moral avoidance and interactivity avoidance.
Originality/value The paper adds to the anti-consumption literature by examining the food avoidance
framework of Lee et al. (2009) in an emerging market context. New categories were identified for reasons of
food avoidance which have not been identified before in the anti-consumption literature such as
interactivity avoidance.
Keywords Turkey, Social media, Emerging economy, Food, Avoidance, Anti-consumption
Paper type Research paper
Food plays an important role in our lives. An increasing number of people in emerging
economies find themselves gradually acculturated to the post-industrial ritual of eating out
within well-designed commercial servicescapes (Ahmed et al., 2013; Akarçay and Suğur,
2015). It appears that in some countries, for example, Turkey, a fast-food revolution is in a
full swing (Akarçay and Suğur, 2015). Western-style fast-food chains and their local
imitations vie for dominance, clatter the market with their promotional activities and
employ best marketing practices to attract customers. Although the goal of marketing is to
satisfy the customer, it can, in some circumstances, lead to a paradoxical incidence of
consumer resistance including brand avoidance (Holt, 2002). In the same vein, there seems to
be a growing number of consumers in emerging economies who refuse to jump on the
bandwagon of the nationwide fast-food revolution (Kashif et al., 2014). Many of them resolve
to avoid specific fast-food choices at any cost.
To gain some insight into the mechanisms of the fast-food avoidance phenomenon, in
this investigation we draw on theories of anti-consumption. The anti-consumption
literature outlines broad reasons for why people might attempt to avoid certain food
choices (Zavestoski, 2002; Cherrier and Murray, 2007; Sandikci and Ekici, 2009; Lee, 2010;
British Food Journal
© Emerald Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/BFJ-03-2018-0203
Received 31 March 2018
Revised 4 October 2018
Accepted 4 October 2018
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
Social media
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Lee et al., 2011). The types of anti-consumption identified in this literature were brand
avoidance including experiential, identity and moral avoidance (Dalli et al., 2006; Lee et al.,
2009), political consumerism (Micheleti, 2017), undesired self and image congruency
(Sandikci and Ekici, 2009; Lee, 2010), organisational misidentification (Elsbach
and Bhattacharya, 2001), innovation resistance (Lee, 2010) and voluntary simplicity
(Craig-Lees and Hill, 2002; Walther et al., 2016).
Although the extant literature unveils a growing understanding of anti-consumption in
its many forms and motivations, there is dearth of empirical research investigating this
phenomenon in fast growing markets within an emerging economy context. Hence, this
research aims to fill this gap by focussing on consumer perceptions that are likely to
influence anti-consumption practices in dynamic, fast-changing milieus (Iyer and Muncy,
2009). To do this, we focus on Turkey, specifically on the countrys fast-food market.
Turkish economy has seen a rapid growth in recent years outpacing those of China
and India (Ant and Hacaoglu, 2018), particularly, due to solid household spending.
The fast-food industry benefited from strong growth in spending and household
disposable income, while a number of multi-national corporations expanded their business
in this country (Özedincik, 2015).
Although the expansion of fast-food providers has been phenomenal (Akarçay and
Suğur, 2015), there seems to be a growing discontent about fast-food consumption
evidenced in consumerssocial media contributions which warrants attention. Such a
complex scenario of fast growing spending coupled with an increasing extent of
discontent motivates the current investigation. Why do some consumers decide to avoid
fast-food in a fast-growing economy?
Literature review
Anti-consumption means against consumptionand has been described in literature as a
resistance to, distaste of, or even resentment or rejection of, consumption(Zavestoski, 2002,
p. 121). Anti-consumption is broadly categorised into reject, restrict and reclaim practices
(Lee et al., 2011). The activities which constitute anti-consumption can range from avoiding
a specific product based on ethical and/or ecological considerations, to overall reduced
consumption and/or complete boycott of specific product category (Craig-Lees and
Hill, 2002). Anti-consumption is not always easy to adopt, since refusing to consume certain
items can be challenging financially as well as emotionally (Cherrier and Murray, 2007)
which suggests that anti-consumption is mostly carried out because of a certain reason
or a motivation.
In the literature, different reasons have been explored which lead to anti-consumption.
Lee (2010) divided anti-consumption literature into four streams (innovation resistance, risk
aversion, undesired self and voluntary simplicity) in terms of insights it offers on why
consumers practice anti-consumption. Similarly, five major streams have been identified for
anti-consumption by Sandikci and Ekici (2009). These include political consumerism,
undesired self and image congruency, organisational misidentification, brand dislike
(Dalli et al., 2006) and brand avoidance (Lee et al., 2009).
Political consumerism represents action by people who make choices among producers
and products with the goal of changing objectionable institutional or market practices
(Micheleti, 2017). Their choices depend on the personal, ethical or political assessment of
favourable and unfavourable practices being carried out by businesses or governments
(Sandikci and Ekici, 2009). For example, US consumers were apparently so disappointed by
Frances refusal to participate with USA in Iraq war that they decided to boycott French
wines (Chavis and Leslie, 2009). Similarly, Canadian public boycotted seafood in protest of
government policies on seals. This stream can be relevant to anti-consumption of food items
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from certain brands where people may avoid a certain food product or category due to its
political origin or affiliation (Kashif et al., 2015).
Undesired self is a common theme identified by both Lee (2010) and Sandikci and Ekici
(2009). Hogg and Banister (2001) show that distaste and dislike are important factors in
how consumers define their identities. The undesired self can be linked to a series of
consumption choices that are represented by taste/distaste. The undesired self is a
representation of the self at its worst, it thus acts as a central avoidance goal
(Phillips et al., 2007, p. 1037). An individuals undesired self is of particular relevance in
anti-consumption context as it involves a strong motivational drive to protect self-esteem.
Marketing managers recognise the pursuit or protection of self-esteem as one of the most
important motivational drivers of consumer behaviour and decision making (Banister and
Hogg, 2004). Undesired self can be an important motivating factor in anti-consumption
of food.
Organisational misidentification research shows that people can define and enhance
their self-concept not only through brands and products that they consume (or do not
consume) but also through the organisations that they identify or misidentify with. Elsbach
and Bhattacharya (2001) argue that a sense of separation from the organisation can also
help to maintain self-concept. The authors define organisational misidentification as a
self-perception based on a cognitive separation between ones identity and ones perception
of the identity of an organization, and a negative relational categorization of oneself and the
organization(Elsbach and Bhattacharya, 2001, p. 397).
Innovation resistance is also one of the major reasons for anti-consumption identified by
Lee (2010). It is not the technology or product that is resisted but rather, the changes caused
by the technology. Technology-based food innovations were found to have many
similarities with innovations in other areas, such as computing and internet, with the only
difference that food is ingested by the consumer (Ronteltap et al., 2007). Owing to the
ingestion of the product, technology-based food innovations create sensitive consumer
concerns about innovations (Ronteltap et al., 2007), and this fact can be one of the reasons
why genetic modification of food has been met with heavy innovation resistance.
Risk aversion is seen as an individuals preference for a guaranteed outcome over a
probabilistic one in avoidance of uncertainty (Gneezy et al., 2006). Hence, to avoid risks,
individuals may practice anti-consumption of options which harbour some uncertainty.
Risk perception is an individuals assessment of the risk inherent in a particular situation
(Pennings and Wansink, 2004). Individuals avoid products that they perceive to be
risky due to the uncertain outcomes of its usage. Risk aversion can also be a reason for
food avoidance as consumers may avoid certain food products due to their associated
health risks.
Voluntary simplicity seekers are individuals who aim to minimise their consumption in
order to focus on non-materialistic channels for satisfaction and meaning in their lives.
Despite the existence of different definitions, mindful living is one common descriptor of the
seekers of voluntary simplicity (Lee, 2010). The concept of mindful living refers to
consumersacceptance and observance of a less materialistic lifestyle as a more personally
fulfilling, socially beneficial and environmentally friendly lifestyle (Walther et al., 2016).
One important motivation for engaging in anti-consumption practices is the wish to
consume more sustainably. This motivation is particularly interesting as consciousness of
environmental pollution and climate change has been rising in the populations of most
industrialised countries and calls for consumption reduction are often heard (Hoffmann and
Lee, 2016). A study by Finn and Louviere (1992) suggests that while consumers often
express a concern for food safety, they were actually the least concerned about food safety,
when forced to choose between the importance of that construct and other issues such as the
environment, medical care, crime, poverty, taxes, etc.
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Another reason for anti-consumption is brand dislike, which is explained as the
negative judgment expressed by the consumer and/or implied in the choice not to buy
(Dalli et al., 2006, p. 87). In some cases, consumers love a brand at the micro-level, but due to
macro-level anti-consumption of the same environmentally damaging brand, they begin to
hate that brand from their own micro perspective (Cova and DAntone, 2016). Brand
avoidance is a well-studied area of research with regard to anti-consumption (Lee et al.,
2009). Brand avoidance can theoretically extend beyond individual brands to the entire
product category of a food or drinks as explained in case of bottled water (Lee, 2010).
Lee et al. (2009) identified three main categories for brand avoidance, i.e. experiential
avoidance, identity avoidance and moral avoidance.
The first category is experiential avoidance, where consumers avoid a brand following
a bad experience. This category is clearly transferable to the food context. A bad
experience such as vomiting, diarrhea could lead to anti-consumption of particular food
product, e.g. Burger or product types (e.g. fast foods) associated with the negative
experience. A second category, identity avoidance, is also useful in the context of food
avoidance. Here consumers avoid food brands because they do not identify with the brand
or, in the context of food, a product category. This lack of identification may reflect
negative possible selves (Banister and Hogg, 2004; Hogg and Banister, 2001) informed by
negative stereotypes (Dalli et al., 2005). A final useful category identified in the literature is
moral avoidance, which includes attitudes and behaviours questioning the dominant
forces or the prevalent norms of consumption. This category of avoidance overlaps with
some of the ideological motivations for voluntary simplicity discussed earlier on and in the
food context could relate to a more general negative sentiment towards certain foods and
brands, possibly originating from ethical or religious beliefs. Another domain included in
our research is the anti-consumption attitude towards national food chains as compared to
multi-national food chains. Richardson as well as Nenycz-Thiel and Romaniuk (2009)
argue that consumers perceive private labels and national brands differently.
Nenycz-Thiel and Romaniuk (2011) emphasise that many consumers perceive private
labels from different stores as a homogenous group. Hence, it is more likely that
consumers avoid private labels in general if they had a negative experience with a specific
private label in the past.
Research context
This qualitative investigation focusses on customer experiences and perceptions related
to two major fast-food chains in Turkey, one global and one local; thereby providing a
comprehensive assessment of uncovering the reasons behind anti-consumption.
Furthermore, the choice of this context is motivatedbytherapidexpansionofmodern
shopping malls. The first shopping mall launched in İstanbul triggered the extension of
ast-food chains allowing global fast-food chains to penetrate the Turkish market
(Tek, 1999). Despite the concept of fast food being familiar with Turkish food providers
and street vendors since a long time (Ahıska and Yenal, 2006; Akarçay and Suğur, 2015),
the first Western-style fast-food chain introduced in Turkey in 1986, McDonalds, was a
beginning of an era of rapid fast-food expansion (Schlosser, 2004; Akarçay and Suğur,
2015). Currently, local fast-food franchise chains offer döner kebabs (Baydöner,
HDİskender), mutton and bread sandwiches (Şampiyon Kokoreç), sweets (HacıŞerif ),
Turkish pizza (İSOT), steak a la turca (Komagene), ice-cream (MADO) and Turkish Bagels
(Simit Sarayı). However, there seems to be a growing discontent with fast-food
chains, specifically, many questioning their authenticity. This led some fast-food
restaurants proudly proclaiming that they do not have any other franchisee branchin
their displays and promotional material.
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Data collection and analysis
Two fast-food chains were selected for the current investigation. Chain 1 represents a
Turkish subsidiary of a major global fast-food brand. Chain 2 represents a local fast-food
chain. The selection of the comments concerning these two chains was based on
purposefulness. These two chains were selected on their potential capacity to warrant rich
consumer comments which would best inform our research questions. Also, the rationale for
selection was the size of the chain: Chain 1 is one of the global fast-food chains with most
local branches, while Chain 2 is the largest local provider with a significant number of local
branches. These two chains operate at a national level.
The number of downloaded and analysed comments from each domain is given
in Table I. We downloaded recently posted customer comments, complaints and
suggestions related to the selected fast-food chains from the following domains: Facebook,
Instagram, Twitter and Şikayetvar. The comments constituting this study were
downloaded during the period February 20172018.
Once downloaded, these comments were reviewed, assessed and classified by four
trained independent raters. The raters first assessed whether a comment contained any
reason for possible future non-consumption. To accomplish this, they were asked to read a
comment several times and identify a major reason expressed in the comment as to why a
commenting person would not be involved in further consumption of the food item under
focus. At the same time, the raters classified the comments/reasons into one of the
categories proposed by Lee et al. (2009). The major categories in Lee et al.stablewere
experiential, identity and moral avoidance reasons. If the reason did not fit
the classification, it was treated as a new (sub)category. The inter-rater reliability for
this classification task was 95 per cent.
For example, a typical comment would be:
[] in the [X] branch of Chain 2, we asked our meal to be replaced due to finding a strand of hair.
The replacement meal was served without fried butter and sauce. I think this was their punishment
for asking a replacement. They a zero understanding of service.
The rater can identify two potential reasons from such a remark. These are finding a
foreign object in the meal and a problem with a service. Relating these two comments to
Lee et al.s framework, these two reasons represent experiential avoidance, specifically,
experiences related to unmet expectations about the product/service attributes. To finalise
the data collection and classification results, the raters met several times among
themselves and the researchers to cross examine and validate their interpretation of the
comments. In their final meeting, the raters examined the interpretations and
classifications one-by-one, and then attempted to arrive at the final triangulated
decision regarding the comments category. The interpretation process was iterative, that
is, moving back and forth between the general context of categories (as posited by Lee
et al., 2009) and the specific meanings of the comments.
The researchers compiled all these evaluations and compared the results. The comments
that did not fit any category were further analysed by the researchers, which resulted in new
categories and subcategories (Table II).
Number of comments analysed
Fast-food chains Branches in Turkey Twitter Facebook Instagram
Fast-food chain 1 606 292 50 88 170
Fast-food chain 2 106 299 43 50 161
Table I.
The number of
comments analysed
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Findings and discussion
Experience-based avoidance: expectations
As previous research anticipates (Lee et al., 2009), most of the reasons for fast-food avoidance
were linked to customersnegative past experiences. The analysis of the comments indicates
that experiential avoidance is consolidated not only due to the feelings of dissatisfaction with
product/service features, but also due to the dissatisfaction with food providers
(e.g. businesses, employees, waiters), ambiance (e.g. store environment, physical evidence,
hygiene) and temporal elements (e.g. waiting time, timely response, specific seasons). In other
words, we find that the avoidance-linked experience is not unidimensional, rather it is
sphericalwhich includes not only whatbut also who,whereand when.
The bulk of complaints were based on product attributes which failed to meet customers
expectations. Expectations related to attributes such as taste, smell, portion size, serving
temperature, freshness, aesthetic aspects, meal presentation and preparation quality were
mentioned. A customer commented:
[] when I was enjoying my iskender [a Turkish dish of grilled lamb over pieces of bread] I felt
something hard under bread pieces that could be barely caught with a fork. It was a piece of fat
[with disgusting taste] that I wasnt even able to chew. Upon my complaint, they told me that it
might have fallen into the plate when they were cutting the döner and that it is not a big deal.
They acted as though it is normal, while it caused so much disgrace and I lost my appetite due to
[repulsive fat taste] spoiling my palate. (Chain 2 customer)
This comment indicates that the rejection of a food item can be caused by unpleasant
experiences related to a specific aspect of food which in itself can occur incidentally. Perhaps,
in such cases avoidance is not based on the total rejection of the whole category, but the food
originating from a problematic source that can potentially cause similar negative experiences.
Researchers talked about taste memorythat is long-term learning that results from a new
taste that is stored with associative experiences (Núñez-Jaramillo et al., 2010). When a new
taste causes a problem or a negative experience, it becomes aversive familiar. In the comment
above, the unpleasant taste of a piece of fat makes the whole meal aversive familiar.
Avoidance type Categories Subcategories Predominance
Unmet expectations Product attribute
Chain 1 (global) and Chain 2 (local)
Service expectations Chain 1 (global) and Chain 2 (local)
Ambiance expectations
Chain 2 (local)
Temporal expectations
Chain 1 (global) and Chain 2 (local)
Hazards and risks
Poisoning Chain 2 (local)
Dietary requirements Chain 1 (global) and Chain 2 (local)
Health (e.g. obesity) Chain 1 (global) and Chain 2 (local)
Food safety (e.g. GM food) Chain 1 (global) and Chain 2 ( local)
Identity avoidance Symbolic
Symbolic incongruence Chain 1 (global) and Chain 2 (local)
Moral avoidance Ideological
Chain 1 (global)
Market dysfunction
Pricing inconsistencies
Inconsistent information
Chain 2 (local)
Chain 1 (global) and Chain 2 (local)
Chain 1 (global) and Chain 2 (local)
Cultural insensitivity
Local customs Chain 2 (local)
Perceived rivalry Chain 2 (local)
Newly conceptualised categories and subcategories of avoidance
Table II.
Categories of fast-food
avoidance practices
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In addition, the problems such as cold ingredients (e.g. meat), undercooked food
(e.g. raw potatoes), unexpected objects in food (e.g. plastic, hair, wire, bone/cartilage, glass
pieces, insects), dated/spoiled ingredients (e.g. yoghurt drink, food oil) and apparent defects
(e.g. a bitten meat patty) prominently featured in the complaints. A customer commented:
the worst iskender I have ever tried. There was no taste in the meat at all [], while
another customer noted: in fact I was forced to search for any taste [in your food]. Since
then, I vowed to never eat [brand] iskender from anywhere(Chain 2 customer). These
comments indicate that a local provider faces the challenge of delivering the expectedthat
is shaped by localised socio-cultural norms. A customer posted:
[] we went to the [] branch for lunch on [the date]. The [dish] was tasteless, potatoes were not
done well and the whole meal had a smell of rancid oil. I felt sick and nauseous. Although we told
the headwaiter about this, he didnt care. I would like to congratulatehim on this []Ill never
visit this place again, not with such quality. (Chain 2 customer)
The problem, whether it is a failure to cater to a specific palate or any other problematic food
condition, is a holistic experience. Faced with such problems, customers may register what
we call problematic attribute memoryjust like in the case of taste memory. Here, food
avoidance arises as a holistic generalisation of a selective fragment rather than a priori
sweeping attitude towards a whole food category.
Another significant cluster of complaints pertains to service expectations. The
majority of the complaints in this category were about the behaviour of service personnel.
A customer explains:
It was two of us. Instead of politely approaching us and explaining about their rule that customers
arriving in groups of two may not sit at the other than two-person tables, we found someone
screaming at us from afar saying that we cannot have the table we had selected. In addition to their
misconduct, they started arguing with us in a very rude manner. At the end, they showed us to the
door. (Chain 1 customer)
The service personal are seen to behave in an unwelcoming manner such as speaking very
loudly, yelling at customers, arguing with customers as well as between themselves, rudely
responding to questions, staring unnecessarily at customers, physically confronting
customers, demanding unfair extra payments or blaming the customer for minor service
accidents. Also, customers mention equipment failure (e.g. the failure of electronic payment
machines). As the analysis of the comments suggests, the experience of a service turns into
an integral part of food experience. We find that, in such contexts, food consumption is more
than simply enjoying food. The environment that includes the delivery and service can also
become a major factor in avoidance.
Another group of complaints are related to the ambiance of the providersspace.Oneof
such prominent factors is hygiene and cleanliness. A customer commented: the toilets are not
clean(Chain 2 customer). People also commented on most of the physical evidence within the
service-scape: bathrooms, employee uniform, tables, walls, utensils and kitchen equipment.
Last but not the least, food is related to the time dimension which gives rise to temporal
expectations. Our reading of the comments shows that enjoying food at an expected time is
qualitatively different to food delivered with time-relatedproblems. Customers waiting
longer than expected to be served seems to be the most recurring problem. Also, people tend
to expect better service during specific seasons such as Ramadan.
Experience-based avoidance: health-related hazards and risks
Not only expectations, but also directly experienced health effects of food can lead to
avoidance. Being different from other commercial goods/services, food is directly
experienced due to ingestion (Ronteltap et al., 2007), hence past experiences of body-food
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congruence tend to prevail over other concerns. Past experiences become a gauge of risks/
hazards related to food intake from a particular source. A customer comments: four of us
became sick after eating iskender [] this food poisoning made us spend whole night in the
hospital(Chain 2 customer). In general, similar comments indicate a great level of concern
about food poisoning, gastrointestinal disorders, and minor digestion issues which are
attributed to the specific food consumed. Food safety and hygiene issues are also mentioned:
[]wewentto[branch]on[date]at[] mall. We ordered 3 iskenders and these were served in 5 to 10
minutes. However, the waiters apron was dirty with patches of sauce and oil. While serving the food his
fingers got in the dish while his thumb was inside the yogurt. We did not accept this and asked to
replace the food [] the sides of the plate were unbelievably dirty [] The employees told us thatsquite
normal as if we never been there. I was discredited in front of my guest to whom I have been praising the
place. I will never allow either myself or people around me to go a fast-food place. (Chain 2 customer).
In addition, the access to options like allergy-free, gluten-free, GM-free, diet friendly, and
sugar-free (e.g. drinks for diabetics) dominate the discussions online for Chain 1.
Identity and moral avoidance
In addition to experiential avoidance, the previous research (Lee et al., 2009) anticipates both
identity and moral avoidance as significant patterns of anti-consumption. We find that identity
related reasons play rather a limited role in food avoidance. Only few customers referred to
symbolic incongruence between the fast food places and their own identities. One of such reasons
mentioned was that the place was perceived as a restaurant to where only a cheap person would
go(Chain 2 customer). In another comment, a customer felt that the fast-food branch they used
to patronise is not a suitable place anymore because its treatment of customers is preferential:
[This fast-food restaurant] is the place that I used to enjoy but now I would never go there because
you only care to serve those who are fasting [in Ramadan]. (Chain 2 customer)
In contrast, there is significant evidence that consumers avoid fast food places on moral
grounds. For example, many consumers felt that the fast-food businesses are driven by self-
interest only and that they are not concerned with the customers long-term health:
[This fast-food business] is driven by self-interest alone: the salads they offer are not there for your
health but for the companys bottom line. (Chain 1 customer)
In another comment, a customer called to avoid the vendors offerings:
[The fast-food business] destroys Amazon forests to promote meat production. (Chain 1 customer)
Such comments attest to customer perceptions that are uniquely based on ideological
assumptions. These assumptions can range from sustainability concerns to altruistic motives.
Interactivity avoidance: dysfunctional market behaviour
Food consumption is underscored by dynamic interactivity between involved parties in the
context of market exchanges. If market interactions are perceived to be problematic, then
customers are more likely to avoid such interactions, which in turn might lead to general
avoidance. The analysis suggests that dysfunctional market behaviour of a food provider
can become a reason for non-consumption. Some aspects of a companys marketing
activities directly affect customers. For example, customers complained about greater-than-
expected prices, hidden prices (extra charges for delivery, toppings, sauces, etc.),
non-standardised prices, and inconsistencies between advertised and real prices:
[This fast-food restaurant] asked to pay extra 1 Turkish lira (TL) for transferring yogurt to a side
plate. When we told them that we do not want to eat yogurt they told still charged us an extra 1TL.
(Chain 2 customer)
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Information exchange is an important element of market interactivity. Specifically, in the
context of marketing communication, over-promising while under-delivering creates a
negative perception of the exchange situation. The negative perception of the exchange may
lead to relationship avoidance which spills over to the food consumption context.
The complaints mention a divergence of real practices from advertised ones such as
unavailability of specific offers (e.g. free coffee, complementary presents, buy one get one
free offers). The communication gap, the differences between information, images, promises
sent to the market and the actual state of affairs, signals a one-sided, asymmetric attitude
that customers might find unfair.
Interactivity avoidance: cultural insensitivity
Turkey traditionally had strong hospitality culture centred on coffeehouses (Karababa and
Ger, 2010). There are established commonly accepted standards of serving food which
partially structure how food should be served and enjoyed in the public spaces (Karababa
and Ger, 2010). One of such standards is to serve tea after food. The general expectation is
that a cup of tea must be offered free of charge after a meal. Many customers complained
about not being able to get their tea:
[] my bill totalled almost 60 Turkish liras [which is a significant amount in the Turkish context]
and I asked the reason why I didnt get my [traditionally expected] tea. I was told that they dont
serve tea in weekends. This is certainly not an ethical clean business. (Chain 2 customer)
The above quote illustrates dissatisfaction with the business because it fails to follow the
etiquette of acceptable interaction with customers. It is perceived to be not cleanwhich in
this context might mean that the business does not uphold its responsibility, set by
customary norms and traditions, within exchange relationships.
Another aspect of cultural insensitivity is given in the following quote:
We had dinner at [the fast-food restaurant] in the evening of a weekday. I wish we didnt. Never
experienced such a thing. They were so busy with their Arab customers that they ignored us.
We asked for bottled water but we didnt get it. They didnt bring fork and knife for ten minutes, as
a result we had to eat cold food. There is no working ethic. Turks should never go there
because they dont care about Turks, but they only take a strong interest in their Arab customers.
(Chain 2 customer)
This quote illustrates the tendency of some customers observing how the business serves
other customers. The cultural norm in Turkey dictates that guestsare treated equally,
while only deserving groups (e.g. elderly, community leaders) would be allowed to get
preferential treatment. The violation of such etiquettes, in their different forms, leads to
negative impressions of the food vendor and consequently leads to food avoidance.
Limitations and future research directions
The current research explored a limited number of fast-food chains in Turkey, which
provides an interesting platform for future research involving more businesses in the
same context. A diverse inclusion of businesses in the analysis is likely to yield specific
perceptions of food avoidance in relation to the nature of business. For example,
reasons to avoid fast food may differ from food anti-consumption behaviours in other type
of eateries.
This paper focusses on understanding a specific context where the majority population
belongs to a particular faith (i.e. Muslims) within an emerging economy setting. While it
provides a unique canvas to provide an exploratory investigation, it would be insightful to
examine additional countries classified as emerging economies with varying degrees of
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cultures (and societies). Such an effort can help in developing a validated framework of
anti-consumption factors particularly relevant for emerging economies.
Furthermore, as this paper unfolds interesting insights on the extension of Lee et al.s
(2009) model, it is important for future work to embed multiple approaches of testing.
This could involve content analysis in combination with social network analysis to
investigate the social structures behind anti-consumption and consumption. Such an
approach would assist in modelling the density (connections between individuals) and
centrality (behaviour of individual within the network) of individuals who exhibit a
particular consumption behaviour (particularly, anti-consumption). Examining the
relationship of reasons (for anti-consumption) generated via content analysis and the
social position of actors within networks could result in generalisable findings for regions
across the world.
Finally, this study elucidates perceptions of anti-consumption through qualitative social
media analysis keeping in view the inherent challenges associated with the nature of the
topic (anti-consumption). However, this research can also be extended through a
quantitative approach, for example, the concepts proposed here can be operationalised and
subsequently tested for validation. Furthermore, in terms of methodological development,
blogs present extensive amounts of archival data that can be effectively utilised as an
additional source of triangulation (Gustafsson and Khan, 2017) in future inquiries.
This investigation has explored the phenomenon of fast-food avoidance in the Turkish
context. The findings indicate that food avoidance is a complex phenomenon that can be
based on a multiplicity of reasons. We extend Lee et al.s (2009) model by observing
additional categories and subcategories of food avoidance including the expected ones.
As expected, food avoidance tends to be based on past product/service experiences, identity
work and moral dispositions. This confirms the Lee et al.s model. Within the experiential
avoidance category, we additionally observe ambiance and temporal expectations within
the unmet expectations sub-category (refer to Table I). Also, we conceptualise a new
sub-category of hazards/risks within the experiential avoidance category. Moreover, the
findings indicate that an additional category of food avoidance exists which we refer to as
interactivity avoidance. The customer, in general, is found to assess whether the other
party, the food provider, would be a suitable exchange partner in their search for
satisfactory food sources. Interactivity avoidance includes customersjudgement about
vendorsmarketing practices as well as their cultural sensitivity.
This research shows that specific fast-food avoidance subcategories may uniquely
apply to a specific global vs local provider. For example, most experiential avoidance
subcategories are found to be prevalent for both global and local providers except
ambiance expectations and poisoning (see Table II), which were predominantly observed
in relation to the local chain. Perhaps, the local chain practices less stringent service
standardisation and maintains lax food safety standards. In contrast, the global chain is
distinguished by prevalent issues relating to ideological incompatibility. This is
expected since it is a business which operates within a distinct culture underscored by
distinct ideologies. Moreover, the study finds that cultural insensitivity, which is a
part of the newly proposed interactivity avoidance category, is predominantly
a local issue. Customers might be maintaining higher expectations from the local
business in terms of knowledge on local traditions, while a global provider is shown
greater tolerance.
To conclude, this research investigation provided several in-depth insights into
the reasons why people might decide to avoid fast food, specifically in the context of
Turkey. We believe that the following principles underscore this tendency. First, food may
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not be seen as an indistinguishable commodity. In the research context under focus, we
realised that food avoidance does not mean abstaining from an abstracted food category.
The avoidance behaviour is not absolutist or totalistic, rather it resembles micro-context
manoeuvring in dynamic situations. Second, food seems to depict a spatial-temporal form
within the Turkish context. It is perceived to be a unique happening that has distinct
spatial and temporal features. This investigation shows that the foods sphere includes its
features, its agents, ambiance, relevant places, third parties, cultural norms and social
settings. Hence, the customer experiences foodas a hallmark of concrete socio-cultural
settings. Third, food may well be a part of holistic exchange relationship. The category of
interactivity avoidanceindicates that the food, its unique socio-cultural form,
becomes an integral part of exchange relationships. Most often, its physical quality is
indistinguishable from, in most cases well integrated into, the quality of
market interaction.
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Corresponding author
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ZET Dışarıda yemek olgusu endüstrileşme ve kentleşme süreçleri ile yakından ilişkilidir. Bu nedenle sosyolojik bir olgu olarak dışarıda yemek yeme, gıda ve beslenme sosyolojisi çalışma alanı içerisinde değerlendirilmelidir. Türkiye'de dışarıda yemek son birkaç on yılda giderek artan oranda rağbet edilen bir tüketim alanıdır. Dışarıda yemek günümüz kentlerinde özellikle alışveriş merkezlerinde konuşlanan fast food zincirlerinin ve yerel ayaküstü yemek zincirlerinde gerçekleşmektedir. Bu makale esas olarak Eskişehir'de yeni orta sınıfın dışarıda yemek seçeneklerinden biri olan fast food zincirlerine odaklanmıştır. Nitel bir çalışma kapsamında 23 görüşmeci ile yarı-yapılandırılmış görüşme gerçekleştirilmiştir. Yeni orta sınıf sağlıklı beslenme, beden formu kaygıları nedeniyle fast food tüketimini nadiren gerçekleştirmektedir. Tüketim genellikle zorunluluk ve çocukların isteği ile sınırlı düzeydedir.
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Purpose – The studies which connect international marketing emotions with perceived service quality are scarce. The purpose of this paper is to fill this knowledge gap and take into account the consumers’ perceived animosity, religiosity, and ethnocentrism to connect these with perceived service quality and purchase intentions of US-based fast food brand chains currently operating in Pakistan. Design/methodology/approach – The authors collected data by means of a self-administered questionnaire, distributed among 500 consumers, randomly selected, patronized the four US fast food brands, namely, McDonalds, KFC, Pizza Hut, and Subway in the city of Lahore in Pakistan. The data are analyzed by employing Structural equation modeling (SEM) based on AMOS 21.0 software. Findings – Results of this study reveal that religiosity and ethnocentrism among Pakistani fast food consumers are low and do not influence the decision to purchase fast food brands. However, consumer emotions influence service quality perceptions – ultimately leading to purchase intentions. Originality/value – The study generally adds to marketing and specifically to international food service marketing knowledge by eliciting the role of religiosity, animosity, and ethnocentrism to delineate service quality and purchase intentions. Furthermore, the external validity of PAKSERV scale and the context of Pakistan – a collectivist Muslim country are also the unique products of this study.
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Eating out phenomenon is related with industrialization and urbanization processes. Therefore, eating out as a sociological phenomenon should be evaluated within the sociology of food and nutrition field of study. In the last decades eating out is at a premium consumption sphere in Turkey. In today's cities, people mostly prefer eating out in local and global fast food restaurant chains located in shopping malls. This article particularly focuses on one of the new middle class' eating out choices, which is fast food chains, in Eskişehir. As part of a qualitative research, 23 respondents were interviewed which was semi-structured. New middle class seldomly consumes fast food due to nutrition and body form concerns. Fast food consumption is limited with necessities and children's desire of eating fast food.
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In this article, we explore the connections between voluntary simplicity (VS), people who are dedicated to consuming less material goods, and Western spirituality. We investigate how voluntary simplifiers connect their practices of simplicity with their concepts and enactments of Western spirituality. First, we propose two categories of voluntary simplifiers identities based on interviews with individuals practicing VS: (1) spiritual voluntary simplifiers (N = 9) and (2) secular voluntary simplifiers (N = 6). Second, we suggest that voluntary simplifiers believe that they are happier and more content than consumers. We conclude by suggesting future research about spirituality and identities.
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Purpose – There is plethora of advertising research that has highlighted the mothers’ perspective to TV food advertising. However, the fathers’ perspective on children food advertising in societies that score high on masculinity is important but absent from literature. The purpose of this paper is to present opinions of respondents as fathers, concerning the impact of TV food advertisements on children buying and consumption habits. Design/methodology/approach – The qualitative data through semi-structured interviews has been collected from 32 males having at least one child between the ages of seven and 14 years. The respondents were purposefully selected from a private sector university located in the province of Punjab, Pakistan. The collected data have been analysed through thematic analysis. Findings – Thematic analysis revealed six themes; quantity of ads, negative impact of TV food ads, changing buying patterns, positive/productive impact on children, father's perceptions of TV advertising, and advertising changes to be incorporated. The findings have some social, cultural, and managerial implications for core advertising stakeholders. Practical implications – This study is useful for marketing managers whose job is to persuade children and their families into buying their products. They can benefit from the findings of this study to customize the brand communication strategies as per the expectations of respondents as fathers. Furthermore, the study proposes useful insights that will help in devising consumer-led advertising policies in Pakistan. Originality/value – The gender role of males while influencing family decision making with regards to food products marketing has been a new area of research. The study is pioneer in the field of consumer socialization in that it focuses upon the fathers’ perspective on TV advertising to children.
Our essay aims to investigate the emerging phenomenon of monetising life-style blogs as an example of social media entrepreneurship. Using a variety of business models and based on interplay of virtual and real-life networks while monetising their blogs, bloggers engage in numerous economic activities. By attracting attention to this phenomenon, we seek to understand the process of co-creation of entrepreneurial opportunities as it occurs among the networking actors. We pose that bloggers, despite taking focal positions within their virtual networks may not be the most (pro)active partners in the process of opportunity co-creation. Rather, their role is often receptive, whereas opportunities become actively identified by other, corporate members of networks, who demonstrate creative and innovative approaches. Thus, opportunity co-creation within the network becomes the main driver of the entrepreneurial process.
This article analyzes how an iconic brand is threatened by the societal trend of anti-consumption motivated by well-being. Under scrutiny is the iconic brand Nutella that is recognized worldwide. In France, it has been linked to public debates on well-being concerns about palm oil. Approaching the phenomenon from a consumer perspective and through observational netnography, we investigate the accommodation work undertaken by Nutella lovers in reaction to anti-palm oil attacks. We identify three major accommodation processes: neutralization, interiorization, and adhesion. Each of these processes is constituted of three different practices. Our study shows that while an iconic brand can resist anti-consumption claims thanks to its brand community, such disputes can cause the brand to lose part of its strength. We suggest that anti-consumption for an iconic brand such as Nutella may thus be ambivalent.
Anti-consumption is a concept that has been around for as long as consumption has existed; however, research focusing on reasons against consumption has been scarcer than its counterpart. This chapter explores four reasons motivating anti-consumption: innovation resistance, risk aversion, undesired self and voluntary simplicity. Two case studies in food packaging (bottled water) and food technology (genetic modification) are used to illustrate the practical relevance of these four anti-consumption literatures to the fast moving consumer goods industry. This chapter argues that anti-consumption is a cause for concern amongst new product developers, who often have the dominant perspective that consumers want increased consumption and innovation. It further argues that even knowledge of fringe movements such as anti-consumption is of substantial importance to product developers.