Expatriate Consumers’ Adaptations and Food Brand Choices

Document Type



acculturation; compensatory; control; theory; expatriate; consumers; food; brarnds; general; adjustment; retail; system

Identifier Data



Journal of International Marketing

Publication Source

American Marketing Association

Rights Management

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The number of expatriates has been steadily growing during the last two decades. For these reasons, academia has exhibited a growing research interest in expatriates’ food consumption choices. Although interest is there, the extant literature is inconclusive about conditions under which expatriate consumers make trade-offs between host-country (local) and global food products and brands. The present study presents mechanisms that explain expatriate consumers’ compensatory coping behaviors and choices between local versus global food brands. By drawing on compensatory control theory and the person–environment fit framework, the authors test the influence of adaptation efforts and retail system properties on expatriate consumers’ food brand choices. Survey findings from 232 expatriates who currently live in five Middle Eastern countries reveal that a higher engagement in adaptation efforts (acculturation and general adjustment) leads to a dominant preference for local (vs. global) food brands. Moreover, this study illuminates the importance of retail system properties by showing that a host country’s retail system development positively moderates the relationship between adaptation efforts and local food brand choices, whereas retail similarity has a negative impact.