Food Habits and Immigrants’ Integration: A Study in Crete, Greece

Author(s): Sfendourakis I, Ratsika N, Fragkiadakis GA, Lemonakis C.

The current study, which focuses on nutritional issues among immigrants in Crete, Greece, offers insights concerning food security and their overall integration. In a sample of 471 immigrants, we identified common tendencies and actual perceptions on their ability to adapt to Cretan food and cuisine. The most favorable food category by the immigrants was bread, cereals and flour, followed by eggs, milk, yogurt, and cheese. Fish was the least favorite food category. Depending on gender, age, countryof- origin, marital status, population size at place of residence, employment in the country-of-origin, and education level in the country-of-origin, the results show differences in the dietary habits of immigrants. The level of inclusion of Cretan products in their daily menus is high (46.5%), and the most popular traditional Cretan dish is lamb roast in a wood-fire oven (42.5%). Most respondents do not report to miss traditional dishes from their home country (58.6%). Testing on the “level of English language used”, at a 5% significance level, we found a positive correlation; the better the English language level, the more they acknowledged the extent of change in their eating habits. A similar finding was recorded for the parameters: “educational level”, and “monthly income in the country-oforigin”. The study recorded significant adaptation of the immigrants to the new nutritional and social conditions. Our results may help relevant government and local self-administration policies, i.e. improving the language level of the immigrants and offering nutritional consultation will certainly help.

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