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Food Insecurity in German households: Qualitative and Quantitative Data on Coping, Poverty Consumerism and Alimentary Participation

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 March 2015

Sabine Pfeiffer
Department for Sociology, University of Hohenheim E-mail:
Tobias Ritter
Institute for Social Science Research, ISF Munich E-mail:
Elke Oestreicher
Department for Sociology, University of Hohenheim E-mail:


This article provides empirical results on food consumption patterns of German low-income households and those living under conditions of welfare as defined by Social Code II (Sozialgesetzbuch II). We focus on nutritional consumption patterns, strategies of food choices and typologies of coping with alimentary exclusion in Germany. Quantitative data from SILC/Eurostat are examined alongside qualitative data derived from a longitudinal study composed of more than 450 biographical interviews, conducted over a period of five years. The quantitative data reveal that food poverty and alimentary participation in German households is severe compared to the European average, the UK and even to Greece. The qualitative data give insight into a broad variety of individual coping strategies, eliciting evidence of the essential role of alimentary participation, as well as its tight restrictions.

Themed Section on Hunger, Food and Social Policy in Austerity
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2015 

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