Junk Food in Abu Dhabi


JunkFood in Abu Dhabi


  1. Introduction

Theresearch methodology section identifies and defines the design thatwas used for the research process. In this section, it is the role ofthe researcher to provide justification for the research design thatwas used. Under research methodology, the researcher defines thenature of the data that was used for the research, methods that wereused in data collection and analysis. Additionally, the researcherhighlights the sources of data [CITATION Ric083 l 1033 ].

  1. Research design

Aresearch design is a general guideline and strategies thatresearchers use for the purposes of carrying out a study thatexamines the research question of interest. It thus aims atexplaining the nature of the research questions and hypotheses, thesampling method, used variables, research settings, and datacollection methods. It offers a detailed explanation of the datacollection methods, how to conduct data analysis and methods to use,and the factors that contribute to selecting the most appropriateresearch design [ CITATION Joh03 l 1033 ].

Thedescriptive research design was used for the study. It involvedobserving and describing the behavior of a subject withoutinfluencing it. Under descriptive research design, the researchergoes to the population of interest to investigate reasons as to whypeople in Abu Dhabi prefer junk foods. The method has the followingadvantages subjects are observed in their natural set up withoutinfluencing the environment it deals with clearly defined problemsand desired objectives. Descriptive research design involvescollecting data from relatively large number of cases making it morerepresentative. Research design is cross section as it can be used inqualitative and quantitative data analysis to address the problem.

Anyresearch design is prone to external validity coupled with internalvalidity intimidation. In this case, therefore, it is possible thatthe adopted design faced threats that the researcher did notanticipate. From the research challenges, it was possible that aresearcher would not make appropriate and effective inferences inrelation to thereasons as to why people in Abu Dhabi prefer junk foods. On the otherhand, external validity is important in enhancing inferencesregarding the whole population.

However,one of the chief threats to external validity of the researchfindings relates majorly to the time the research was conducted. Dueto the fact that it was not a continuous case study, a challenge mayarise in the making of inferences regarding the population since theconsumption patterns may vary from time to time, hence not constantat any given time [ CITATION Joh03 l 1033 ].

  1. Target population

Thestudy employed both qualitative and quantitative data. In carryingout the research, structured Likert-scale questionnaires were issuedto a group of Muslim Community living in the urban area and shoppingcenters such as Abu Dhabi Mall, Khalidiya Mall, Marina Mall, MadinatZayed Mall and Al Raha Mall. The questionnaires were also distributedto people in public parks, schools such as the InternationalCommunity School and Universities such as Zayed University. Theonline survey was for employees in the different public and privatecompanies.

Thequestionnaires required the respondents to state their lifestyles andculture, government regulations, advertisement influence, culture,tastes and preferences and availability of junk foods. In-depthinterviews were also conducted among the religious leaders. Simplestatistical tables were also used in data presentation. Online methodof distribution was also done. Qualitative data was obtained fromprevious researches and peer reviewed articles on why people in AbuDhabi prefer junk foods. The research’s target population is asshown below




Shopping centers



Public parks






Companies (public and private)









  1. Sampling technique

Sinceit was difficult to include the whole population in the research,only a sample of the entire population was considered for the study.A sampling strategy is the procedure taken to facilitate theproduction of a representative sample, sampling methods used, theinclusion and exclusion criteria, and what sets up the population.This study adopted a non-probability sampling method. This means thatselection of people to participate in the study was done in anon-random manner. It will go an extensive means to aid in findingthe right people to include in the study.

Thesampling technique used in this study to determine the respondentswas stratified random sampling. In stratified sampling technique, thepopulation is divided into homogenous groups “strata” and thesample was drawn for each strata using random sampling techniques.The goal is to obtain a sample which gives a good understanding ofthe problem and “unbiased” representation of the totalpopulation. The goal of this method was to achieve the desiredrepresentation from various sub-groups in the population.Themethod was used because the population of interest is from differentsectors and departments within the country. All this had differentcharacteristics and these justified the use of stratified randomsampling. The eligibility criterion that the researcher used toanchor is such that the premise only fits the sample from Abu Dhabi.Out of the total population of 16,200, a sample of 60 respondents wasselected to be used for the study. The table below shows the samplingframe used in data collection.





Shopping centers




Public parks








Companies (public and private)












  1. Research Instruments

Thereexist two major types of data primary data which is informationcollected directly for the first time and secondary data which isinformation gathered from the published work of other sources [CITATION Wil06 l 1033 ].Datain this study was collected using semi structured questionnaires. Aquestionnaire is a schedule of various questions intended forself-completion by survey participants. It is a cost effective methodto acquiring information especially from a large or sparsely locatedgroup of respondents. It also allows for anonymity. Thequestionnaires were preferred in this study because respondents ofthe study were literate and quite able to answer questions askedadequately. Questionnaireswere used in this research because of the element of anonymity assome of the information required is sensitive. In addition due to thedifferent locations of the managers, it was more effective to usequestionnaires to gather more information. In order to ensureuniformity in response and to encourage participation, thequestionnaire were kept short and structured with mostlymultiple-choice selections in a Likert scale.

  1. Data collection procedures

Theadministration of questionnaires was either manually or through mailsurvey. The email survey was chosen as a result of the unique studypopulation characteristics and efficiency in collecting the data. Thesurvey consisted of closed-ended questions that had been formulatedand aimed to ensure that in-depth information is obtained. Thequestions were formulated in line with the objectives of the study aswell as the research questions of the study. The questions followed alogical sequence starting from the most simple to the complex ones soas not to demotivate the respondents in the process of acquiring theinformation.

Acover letter was sent together with the questionnaires explaining thepurpose the purpose of the research as well as obtains consent fromthe respondents to participate in the entire research process. Theresearcher’s contacts were provided in case the respondents had anyquestion that needed to be clarified.

Onemerit of using this instrument to gather information is that it ischeaper as compared to other instruments. The email system providesefficiency and gives flexibility to the respondents to answer thequestions at their own convenient time and place. However, the methodhas a major drawback in that the results might be biased because ofthe use of judgment in choosing the sample and low response time fromthe respondents.

Thequestions were organized into three parts so as to obtain enough andsufficient information from the respondents. One section will be toobtain information concerning the attitudes of people towards fastfoods Second is on the usage of the fast food restaurants and thirdwill be to obtain information on the pattern of fast food consumption[ CITATION Joh11 l 1033 ].

  1. Data analysis

Inevery research, the researcher must be able to deduce the dataconsistently. Data analysis is done after all data has beencollected. Data analysis is a process of explaining the meaning ofthe data collected. The researcher must use an analysis tool thatwill help to explain both the qualitative data and quantitative data.To analyze quantitative data frequency tables and statisticalsoftware packages can be used (Wilson, 2010). The quantitative datain this research was analyzed by descriptive statistics usingstatistical package for social sciences SPSS (V.21.0). Thequalitative data took an exploratory content analysis process. Thisis more ideal as the information gathered from the open endedquestions which was large and could be time consuming if not wellplanned. The data was then presented using frequency tables andfigures.

Inaddition, a multivariate regression model was applied to determinethe relative importance of each of the independent variables withrespect to demand for junk foods in Abu Dhabi. Regression method wasused due to its ability to test the nature of influence ofindependent variables on a dependent variable. Regression is able toestimate the coefficients of the linear equation, involving one ormore independent variables, which best predicted the value of thedependent variable. This is what a correlation analysis cannotprovide as compared to a regression analysis. Consequently, based onthese considerations, the multiple regression analysis was chosen asthe approach to analyze the data.

  1. Model specification

Thestudy aimed at finding out the factors that contributed to the highdemand for junk foods in Abu Dhabi. Among the factors that were takeninto consideration include food consumption pattern, advertisementinfluence, lifestyle and culture, government regulation, addiction,locality, changes in the peoples’ lifestyle, tastes andpreferences, different levels of people, convenience andavailability.


Thischapter presents the data analysis and interpretations on the highdemand for junk foods in Abu Dhabi. The chapter also provides themajor findings and results of the study.

  1. Response rate

Thestudy targeted a sample size of 60 respondents from which 59 filledin and returned the questionnaires making a response rate of 98%. Theresponse rate was excellent. It is considered that a response rate of50% is adequate for analysis and reporting a rate of 60% is good anda response rate of 70% and over is excellent.

Figure 1.1: Response rate

  1. Reliability analysis

Reliabilityof the questionnaire was evaluated through Cronbach’s Alpha whichmeasures the internal reliability. Thevalue of the alpha coefficient ranges from 0-1. A higher value showsa more reliable generated scale. 0.7 is considered to the acceptablereliability coefficient.

  1. Demographic information

Thestudy pursued to establish the demographic information of therespondents whereby it inquired on the respondents’ age and gender.

Figure1.2, presents the gender distribution of the respondents wherebymajority (93%) of the respondents were male whereas female were 7%.This implies that the male gender dominated most of the areas wherethe data was collected. It further implies that gender representationwas not well considered in undertaking the study.

Figure 1.2: Gender distribution

Thefindings in table 1.1 present the age distribution of therespondents. From the findings, thestudy found that the majority of the respondents were between 25-34years (54.0%), 3% were aged between 12-17 years 22% were aged between18 – 24 years, 20% were 35 years and above. This implies that thetarget population was equally distributed among all age brackets.Further it implies that the information obtained in this study wasrepresentative of the views of different ages [ CITATION Ant09 l 1033 ].

Table 1.1: Age distribution




12 to 17



18 to 24



25 to 34



35 or older






  1. Addiction / frequency of consumption

Onaddiction / frequency of consumption of the junk food, the studysought to establish the extent to which addiction explains the highdemand for junk foods in Abu Dhabi, as illustrated in Figure 1.3. Thestudy found that addiction has a significant impact on the demand forjunk food. The highest number of respondents, 53%, indicated thatthey take junk food 1 to three times a week. 21% of the respondentsindicated that they took junk food at least once on a daily basis. 3%of the respondents took junk food 4 to 6 times a week. 7% of therespondents took junk food all day while only 17% of the respondentsdo not take junk food. From the analysis, addiction towards junk foodcreates the high demand for junk food in Abu Dhabi. The highestnumber of respondents admitted to have taken junk food at least onceevery day.

Figure 1.3: Addiction for junk foods

  1. Demand for junk food

Onthe demand for junk food, the study aimed at determining the reasonsas to why most people in Abu Dhabi prefer to take junk food. Figure1.4 shows the reasons for the high demand of junk food in Abu Dhabi.From the findings, 34% of the respondents took junk food due to theirtaste. The availability of junk food determines its consumption to anextent of 16%. 3% of the respondents took it due to the low prices ofjunk food. 12% of the respondents took junk food since they are quickto prepare. 5% of the respondents argued that junk food helps them torelax whenever they are stressed. 16% of the respondents argued thatthey had no time to cook. Out of the 58 respondents, 14% do not eatjunk. The findings imply that majority of the people took junk foodbecause of the foods’ good taste [ CITATION Dav07 l 1033 ].

Figure 1.4: Demand for junk foods

  1. Where people take junk food

Theresearcher also investigated on the places with the highestprobability of consuming junk food. The results are shown in Figure1.5. None of the respondents admitted to take junk food in school.This may be due to restrictions in schools. The highest number ofrespondents, 53%, took junk food in hotels or in recreation parks.18% of the respondents took junk food mostly in colleges anduniversities. The high demand for junk food in colleges anduniversities may be due to availability and lack of time to cook.Mostpeople believe consumption of fast food leads to the saving of time.In turn, this enables individual to take on activities in a day [ CITATION Oxf14 l 1033 ].Studentsalso tend to like tasty things. Students’schedules are tight with the lack of a plan for their day to dayactivities. When students are studying in libraries, most havevending machines full of Junks, which becomes preferable to consumethan find restaurant and take a healthy meal

11%and 9% of the respondents took junk food while at work and homerespectively. Theworking class is not different as during lunch hours most workersfind eating at a fast food to be better. Undeniably, the authorsindicate that laziness to pack lunch before leaving the house in themorning causes the preference too. The preference saves time and is aquick way of taking food to fulfill the hunger. Thelow consumption of junk foods at home maybe due to variety of othertypes of foods available at home. In addition, the availability ofjunk food at home is low. 9% of the respondents didn’t take junkfood.

Figure 1.5: Location

  1. Advertisement

Onadvertisement, the researcher aimed at determining the impact ofadvertisement on the consumption of junk foods in Abu Dhabi. From thefindings in Figure 1.6, advertisement influences 66% of therespondents to take junk food. 44% of the respondents argued thatadvertisement does not have any impact on their consumption of junkfoods. The findings imply that the increasedadvertisement of the junk food in the media leads to attractingchildren as well as the general public to consume such foods.

Advertisingto the children and the public in general by tempting them topractice poor nutrition habits is outlawed as it considered harmfuland misleading to the children. It is also unethical to advertise tochildren as well as the general public and more so requestinginformation about the children’s age [ CITATION Loc14 l 1033 ].

Figure 1.6: Advertisement

  1. Effects of increase in price

Theresearcher aimed at determining the impact of a change in price ofthe junk foods, as shown in Figure 1.7. When the price of junk foodsis increased, 60% of the respondents will not take, while only 40%will take. This implies that the cost of junk foods have asignificant effect on the consumption of junk foods. The findingsconcur with the findings of other researchers that most people preferjunk food since they are affordable.

Figure 1.7: Increase in prices

  1. Government regulations

Ongovernment regulations, the researcher aimed at finding if it wasnecessary for the government to restrict the marketing of junk foods.From Figure 1.8, 66% of the respondents were in favor of governmentimposing regulations on the consumption of junk foods. 34% of therespondents opposed the idea. The opportunitiesof fast food industry are as a result of lack of governmentcommitment to regulating the industry. The absence of regulations andinterference from the government facilitates the growth of theindustry as well as promoting its products resulting to an increasein unhealthy eating lifestyles [ CITATION Bru03 l 1033 ].

Figure 1.8: Government regulations

  1. Consumers’ awareness on the health risks associated with junk foods

Theresearcher sought to find out if the consumers were aware of thehealth risks associated with consuming junk foods, as shown in Figure1.9. 93% of the respondents were aware of the health risks comparedto 7%. This implies that mostof the people take fast foods on regular basis despite the fact thatthey are aware of the health benefits that are associated with takingthese fast foods.

Figure 1.9: Awareness of health risks

  1. Regression analysis

Inthis study, a multiple regression analysis was conducted to test theinfluence among predictor variables. The research used statisticalpackage for social sciences (SPSS V 22.0) to code, enter and computethe measurements of the multiple regressions. [CITATION Eli11 l 1033 ]


Regression Statistics

Multiple R


R Square


Adjusted R Square


Standard Error










Significance F














R-Squaredis a commonly used statistic to evaluate model fit. Theadjusted R2,also called the coefficient of multiple determinations, is thepercent of the variance in the dependent explained uniquely orjointly by the independent variables. Themodel had an average coefficient of determination (R2)of 0.9087 and which implied that 90.87% of the variations inoperational efficiency are caused by the independent variablesunderstudy (advertisement, awareness of health risks associated withconsumption of junk foods, affordability of junk foods and governmentregulations) [CITATION Pet032 l 1033 ].


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