Factors influencing provision and consumption of African traditional foods in classified and unclassified restaurants in Nairobi, Kenya
Ngonyo, Kamau Beatrice
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The study sought to investigate factors influencing the provision and consumption of African traditional foods in classified and unclassified restaurants in Nairobi. The specific objectives were to determine the socio-economic status of customers, examine factors influencing customer preference towards traditional foods and establish factors influencing the restaurants' menu concept. The findings of this study will be of great help to the restaurateurs in Nairobi as they will provide them with concrete scientific data about African traditional food lifestyles, beyond their own market research. These would guide them on what to give preference to in their menus in future. It will be beneficial to the social researchers too as they could use the findings to know if traditional foods could be used to enhance cultures and promote tourism. The study adopted the descriptive survey design which was used to gather information from a portion of the population. The accessible population was classified and unclassified restaurants which offered African traditional foods. The sampling frame consisted of three (3) classified restaurants and eighteen (18) unclassified restaurants making a total of 21 restaurants. Purposive and systematic random sampling was used to select the restaurants. Respondents were drawn from restaurant managers and customers in those restaurants. A total of twenty one (21) food and beverage managers were purposively selected and interviewed while 425 customers filled questionnaires. Both quantitative and qualitative data collected was analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) and presented using charts, tables, bar graphs, percentages and frequencies. Chi-square test (x2) was used to establish relationship between income and nutritional value. A multiple regression was also used to determine the best predictor variables for how often one eats traditional foods. The findings revealed that those who were mostly eating the traditional foods in the selected restaurants are people in their middle and old ages, the foods are not popular with the young people. It was evident that those eating the traditional foods are people who are well educated, have good jobs and earning high incomes. Most of the customers eat traditional foods daily. The following factors were rated highly by the customers as the core reasons for eating traditional foods; taste, nutritive value, enhancing cultural values and medical reasons. Chi-square results (x2) revealed that there was no significant association between income and nutritional value as a reason for preference towards traditional foods. Multiple regression results showed that income was the best predictor of how often one eats African traditional foods. Results revealed that the restaurant managers introduced the African traditional foods in restaurants in Nairobi recently. The following reasons were given for introducing the African traditional foods; health nutritional value, enhancing cultural values and customer requests. Results too revealed that traditional foods were popular. The study recommended that young people should be encouraged to eat the traditional foods, the Ministry of Culture and National heritage should hold more campaigns to popularize African traditional foods and Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) to motivate local farmers by financing them, so as to grow more of the local foods as demand is increasing. Further research should be conducted to find out why the young people are not eating the traditional foods.