The Effect of Globalization on Food Culture

global food culture

Globalization is an expression of the rapidly developing and intensifying interconnectedness and dependency relations of modern life. Seen from this perspective, globalization is a complex interconnectedness and its interconnections emerge in different forms.

Globalization goods, capital, people, information, images, crime, pollution, drugs, fashion, beliefs flow across terrestrial borders. Transnational networks, social movements and relations show their effects in almost all areas, from academia to sexuality (Tomlinson 2013:13).

Time-Space Compression

When the concept of connectedness is increasingly taken as global spatial proximity, David Harvey calls it "time-space compression" gave its name. For example: the physical or representational shortening of the time spent crossing distances explains the feeling of diminished distances due to this as time-space compression.

Connectedness is not only an important determinant of the notion of closeness, but also influences how we perceive global proximity. Along with the experience of intimacy brought by these ties, there are still physical distances between places and people that technological and social transformations cannot eliminate.

There are 8800 km between a person living in Mexico and a person living in Spain, but this distance is now experienced differently, by means of communication technology or mass transportation (such as airplanes) ie a short time and money spent, it is now 8800 km from Mexico City, Madrid. not 11 hours flight distance. Air travel has begun to pass through space rather than in temporal sequences; After take-off, newspaper distribution, meal delivery, in-flight movies, one meal for short flights, two meals for long flights, one movie, and sleep turned into a temporal sequence.

It travels through a time capsule without space until it arrives at its destination. You get off the plane, pass the customs, exit the airport, miraculously find yourself outside, and find yourself in an area with a different climate and a different language, with the clothes you wear while getting on the plane and the concrete ties that connect you to your home, which is not far away. But when he looks at the eating and drinking places on the street, he sees a common culture. The food places and varieties visited came to the same place. It is as if the food cultures that he experienced and did not experience were stuck in the same time-space…

Global Food Culture

There is a global food culture now, everywhere pizza, pasta, kebab, burger, sushi, Indian food have long ceased to be extraordinary and have become ubiquitous as daily food. Global food culture is the result of industrialization and globalization simultaneously and has undergone transformations accordingly. Industrial processes – processes such as canning, drying, freezing, packaging have caused a significant break in the intake and consumption of food.

With the technological developments, dependency on locally produced food has decreased, and the relationship between food source and locality has weakened. The industrial cuisine that emerged from the mass-produced food with the help of technology from the colonies or ex-colonies has changed the eating habits of the population in the West. The economies of the third world countries, which have become dependent on mass production of these foods against the changing eating habits of the West, have also changed and developed, and eventually they themselves have become increasingly dependent on these industrial foods. (Tomlinson 2013)

Read: Globalization's Journey through Agriculture

What we eat is now derelict and homeless, cut off from its historical and geographical origins. Although the West dominated and shaped the early stages of globalization, globalization is no longer a one-sided imperialism. For example, Latin America, which we call the Third World, called the Asian Tiger - South Korea, Taiwan, Hong-Kong, Singapore and Malaysia - has advanced their economies technologically, industrially and economically from some places in the West.

Although the process of globalizing modernity started as the link of western institutions, it gradually loosened from the West. In other words, the West's success in spreading its own institutional forms made the West lose its social/cultural superiority. An ironic situation can be considered as a kind of winner loses (Tomlinson,2013:139).

What impact does the food experience have on the overall dining experience as the food experience is detached from the consumer's experience of locality—all global foods are American, Italian, Chinese, Thai, Spanish, Japanese, and Indian, and kebabs are available as daily food choices?

The bond between the food eaten and the cultural belonging is weakening. When we look at it, there is a simple relationship between eating habits, cuisine and cultural belonging. This relationship has begun to change in daily life, with ready-made products coming to people's doors as a result of industrialization. Sometimes all meals are delivered to the door of the house in a packaged form.

Sometimes, everything needed to cook a meal for two (from salt, spices, meat, vegetables) comes in a package, and the food is cooked by putting them in a pot and boiling them. Where does this dish belong? This dish does not belong to a region, it belongs only to the one who canned, dried, frozen-packed and marketed it. The cultural belonging of the food has changed now, the food belongs to the global market.

As cultural exchange increased globally, food ceased to be national. The connection of food with belonging and identity formation has decreased a lot. Every dish has been telling stories of mingling.

The availability of fresh food throughout the year, both through imported foods and productions using technology, has eliminated the limited availability of vegetables and fruits in season, for example: watermelon and plum in the middle of winter. While the blooming of the plum tree symbolizes spring, this is disrupted by the plums grown in greenhouses. Or the watermelon shell should have fallen into the sea for the beginning of summer, but now watermelon shells can fall into the sea in any season…

The wait depending on the food calendar that shows the fertility of summer, the differentiation that this calendar shows, the preparations for the winter, the harvest festivals contribute to the formation of a sense of local culture. situated all activities are now in danger of disappearing. The link between food and cultural practices has weakened (Cited by Delamont 1995, Tomlinson 2013:182).

The effect of the striking acceleration in the industrialization and globalization of food in the supermarket culture of the last thirty years needs to be explained… There is a different transitional order in which deterritorialization comes into play on the basis of food culture myths as well as real consumption practices (Tomlinson, 2013: 182).

Looking at the cosmopolitan cookbooks standing next to the cash registers in supermarkets and the ethnic or hybrid recipes made on social media, food has become a choice that the consumer will make from a wide range of products. It is a social recreational situation that has no belongings but can be experienced. An identity is not a sign of belonging.

With this increase in variety and availability of food, there may have been a certain decrease in cultural narrow-mindedness: As food-related prejudices lose their temper, it is hoped that there will be a decrease in chauvinism and even hostility towards the cultural practices of ethnic minorities.


  • Tomlinson, J.(2013). Globalization and Culture. Istanbul:Detail Publications

About the Author

Didem Samurkas

I am a Computer Engineer, I am married, I first completed my master's degree in Sociology in order to find answers to my questions why we live social life like this, how our relations with each other are formed, and now I am continuing my Sociology doctoral program. I am doing my thesis on food and agriculture.

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