In addition to our study of supermarket procurement systems within the city of Dar es Salaam, we decided to take a more “story-telling” approach to the entire idea of food systems within this developing city. Alongside the interviews with supermarket managers, we decided that by looking at the food buying habits of different socio-economic classes of Tanzanians, we could learn a lot about the diverse groups of people living within Dar es Salaam, and the direction this city is heading in regards to food processing and consumption.
Within these surveys with residents of Dar es Salaam—which we will refer to as “case studies” from now on— we discovered a lot of interesting and diverse facts from the average consumers point of view. We had a small sample size, as we chose 1 individual (including their family) from each visible social class. We labeled these classes into lower, middle, and higher. The higher class included both a native Tanzanian, as well as an expat currently living in Dar es Salaam.
Finally with our information gathered, we are now able to tell a sort of “food story,” of where this individual is getting their food from, and why. Even at the first stages of data analysis, it is very clear to us that there is a dramatic difference in the food buying habits of lower to higher class individuals. It’s actually pretty shocking to see the differences between 2 people who live within 5km of each other, as some are buying from roadside stands, and some are buying from high-end supermarkets, with the plausible notion that the food is ultimately coming from the same source, and merely presented differently. Dar es Salaam is a very un-evenly developed city—as most are. The clear line of poor to rich is blatantly obvious, and is clearly a large issue within the city. This dramatic uneven development not only effects the economy of the city, but available jobs, the modes of transport and safety on the roads, lack of basic infrastructure due to rapid expansion of population and unplanned settlements, and many others. In order to supply the growing diverse population of Dar es Salaam entirely, stable food procurement systems needs to be in place—something that currently does not exist in Tanzania.
The in depth look that these case studies gave our team an awful lot of the truth of Dar es Salaam—telling the stories of real people, and for some: struggle they face in becoming food secure.