Jean-Pierre Poulain(1), Cyrille Laporte(1), Laurence Tibère(1), Elise Mognard(2), Neethianhantan Ari Ragavan(2), Anis Ashraf Zadeh(3) & Ismail Mohd Noor(2)
Malaysian Journal of Nutrition, vol. 26 (1), 2020 – doi:

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Introduction: The Malaysian society is undergoing rapid modernisation. The emerging middle class in Malaysia is influencing the lifestyles and traditional food habits of the main three ethnics (i.e. Malays, Chinese, and Indians). This article studied the impact of compressed modernisation on food in a multicultural context. The Malaysian Food Barometer (MFB), published in the year 2014, focuses on the socio-cultural determinants of food habits in Malaysia.

Methods: The methods applied in the study were qualitative and quantitative surveys of the food barometers developed at the national level to study the transformation of eating habits. The surveys studied the socio-economic, demographic, and cultural determinants of food consumption, as well as identifying their possible influences on health issues.

Results: The results showed two major distinguishing characteristics of Malaysian food patterns, i.e. linking with Malaysia’s multi-ethnicity background and the high frequency of foods consumed outside of home by the urban population.

Conclusion: The article concluded that like many societies in transition, Malaysia has to face a rise in the prevalence of overweight. However, with its multicultural characteristics, it becomes a privileged empirical field of observation for the analysis of modernisation modalities of diet models among different ethnic groups.

Key words: Compressed modernity, eating out, social norms, meal, food cultures, food studies

(1) ISTHIA & CERTOP UMR CNRS 5044, Université de Toulouse, Taylor’s University Malaysia, LIA CNRS Food, Cultures & Health ; (2) Taylor’s University Malaysia, LIA CNRS Food, Cultures & Health ; (3) Faculty of Social Sciences and Leisure Management, Taylor’s University, Malaysia, LIA CNRS Food, Cultures & Health