An exploratory study of changing consumption patterns and the inclination to engage in food-related protests
This article (PDF) in Sustainability Journal argues that the relationship between riots, dietary patterns and the willingness to riot is not straightforward since the changes in consumption of different food groups influence the willingness to riot in different ways. After the widespread food riots in 2008, some authors argued that higher food prices cause political unrest, or food riots. Nevertheless, research has demonstrated that political, cultural, and economic factors confound the impact of price in determining whether a food riot occurs. This paper explores: (1) the relationship between household demographic characteristics and reported willingness to riot due to future food price rises; and (2) the relationships between people’s diets and their reported willingness to riot due to future food price rises. Using household surveys and focus groups discussions carried out in Cameroon, they found that 70% of the respondents would riot if food prices went up. Also, in the event of food price rises households in Cameroon’s major cities are more likely to riot than the citizens of smaller cities and households with relatively higher educational level, high incomes, are less likely to riot. Finally, the relationship between dietary patterns and the willingness to riot is not straightforward as changes in consumption influence the inclination to riot in different ways. Overall, this paper demonstrates that preemptive strategies designed to avoid future food riots in Cameroon must take into consideration these spatial, demographic, and dietary factors.