Having Enough Cultural Food? A Qualitative Exploration of the Experiences of Migrants in a Regional Area of Australia

Joanne Sin Wei Yeoh, Quynh Lê, Daniel R. Terry, Rosa McManamey


The notion of food security encompasses the ability of individuals, households and communities to acquire food that is healthy, sustainable, affordable, appropriate and accessible. Despite Australia’s current ability to produce more food than required for its population, there has been substantial evidence demonstrating that many Australians struggle to feed themselves, particularly those from a cultural and linguistically diverse (CALD) background. This qualitative phenomenological study investigated the experiences of food security among migrants in a regional area of Australia (Tasmania).

33 semi-structured interviews were conducted with Tasmanian migrants. The interviews were analysed thematically using Nvivo 10.0 and three main themes emerged: (1) migrant’s experiences of food security in Tasmania; (2) the factors that influence migrant food security in Tasmania; and (3) acculturation strategies. Participants were satisfied with their current food security in Tasmania but they still encountered some challenges in the availability, accessibility and affordability of healthy and cultural food. Factors that influenced their food security were educational background, the language barrier, socioeconomic status, geographical isolation, and their cultural background. Migrants managed to adapt to the new food culture by using different acculturation strategies.

Migrants residing in Tasmania encounter a diverse number of challenges pertaining to food security and use different food security strategies while acculturating to the new environment. These findings may inform other migrant communities in Australia, relevant non-government organisations and government departments and suggest strategies to address food security challenges among migrants.


migrants, food security, qualitative, Tasmania, Australia, acculturation

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5539/jfr.v4n2p16

Journal of Food Research   ISSN 1927-0887(Print)   ISSN 1927-0895(Online)

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