HCP Discussion Paper No. 20: Cross-Platform Food Shopping and Household Food Access in Nanjing, China
Modern urban food systems have evolved into international, multi-scalar and complex networks. The historical evolution of the food system in Nanjing, China, exemplifies this complexity. Nanjing’s food system has undergone successive waves of modernization, bringing changes in consumer food sourcing behaviour along with it. Using household survey data, this investigation assesses the cross-platform food sourcing behaviour of households in Nanjing to untangle some of the complex relationships linking food retailers to consumers in the city. The findings indicate that the surveyed households largely prefer purchasing fresh food from wet markets over prepared food from fast food retailers, restaurants and online vendors. That said, households that used any of these three food sources displayed a greater diversity in their food sourcing than the majority of households that accessed wet markets and supermarkets. These findings indicate a network of food access preferences among Nanjing households.