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Social Marketing and Food Policy in Greece: Findings from Research with Undergraduate Students and Key Stakeholders

Kapetanaki, A. B. (2012). Social Marketing and Food Policy in Greece: Findings from Research with Undergraduate Students and Key Stakeholders. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City University London)


Greece, like many other countries, has experienced great changes in food supply, consumption patterns and health outcomes. Famous for its Mediterranean diet, it has actually undergone a modem nutrition transition, and now has high rates of overweight and obesity and increased incidence of non-communicable nutrition-related diseases. This study begins with that reality and the current failure of food policy and nutrition-related initiatives to tackle problems. The study explores whether and how social marketing could remedy this policy deficit and contribute to changing Greek food behaviour. The thesis describes a contextual review of the state of nutritional health, the food system and food policy in Greece and outlines social marketing theory and experience. Two studies were conducted to answer the research questions. The first was a case study conducted on a sample of undergraduate students through nine focus groups with fifty-nine Greek undergraduate students from eight Athenian education institutes to explore the influencers of eating behaviour, the impact of current initiatives and the potential of social marketing. A second study of thirty-two key stakeholders in significant positions in the Greek food system explored through semi-structured interviews the reactions of education institutes, civil society, government and food supply chain representatives to the Greek food situation and the potential of social marketing. The fieldwork studies found that social marketing was not likely to be a panacea but has potential for Greece. The first study found that eating decisions are complex, based on individual as well as environmental factors. Both studies highlighted policy failings in government, while the second study specified the problematic structure of the public sector and a reluctance to confront existing food culture. Both studies found potential for social marketing to help change Greek food culture but its utility depends on factors beyond the realm of food policy alone. Political will, suitably qualified people and changes in the food system are all necessary. The thesis concludes that social marketing would be enhanced by an integrated food policy framework and from a broader understanding of behaviour change in general and of the dynamics of eating behaviour in particular. A new model of this integrated approach is proposed. Greek food policy would be enriched by the citizen-centric approach of social marketing but only if the full 5 Ps that will include "Policy" are applied as the policy element is too easily marginalised. The thesis proposes that food policy be integrated around three dimensions of action: food safety and hygiene, nutrition and environment.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Departments: Doctoral Theses
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Healthcare Services Research & Management > Food Policy
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > School of Health & Psychological Sciences Doctoral Theses
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