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International affairs and multimedia production

The actors

> Scientific director : Professor of Political Science at Science Po Bordeaux, President of the scientific advisory board within the African section of the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs.
> Coordinator : PhD in Anthropology.
> Field : PhD in Policital Sciences.
> Visual artist : Olivier Culmann.
> Journalist : Freelance Angola Correspondent at AP and Forbes Africa.



An in-depth study to understand African middle class dietary habits, as well as underlying portrayals and logic, with an aim to adjust the marketing and communication strategies of a large food company on the African continent.

Afro food... for thought : Senegal Afro food... for thought : South Africa

The context

The project is based on work that Collateral Creations has already carried out on African middle classes, and concentrates on understanding dietary habits in Sub-Saharan Africa. A unique approach combining sociology, photography and journalism. The most complete study ever produced of this group of 220 million individuals.

The third field of our in-depth study of African middle class dietary habits focuses on the influence of a post-war context on dietary habits of the established lower middle class in Luanda.

A unique approach combining sociology, journalism and authored photography.

The African Development Bank defines the middle class as being that which has a daily spending budget per capita of between 2 and 20 dollars.
This Angolan middle class is divided into 3 sub-categories : the floating middle class with a daily spending budget, per person per day, of between 2 and 4 dollars, the established lower middle class, with a daily spending budget of between 4 and 10 dollars, and the upper middle class with a daily spending budget of between 10 and 20 dollars.
How does the end of war lasting several years affect middle class dietary habits ?

Socio-anthropological analysis

We analysed the effects of the mobility of the social classes produced by the post-war context on middle class dietary habits in Luanda.
The accent was placed on the established lower middle class and its dietary habits. We carried out in-depth analysis of their way of life and dietary preferences, as well as portrayal and consumption habits.

This relation between the context and dietary habits was based on four questions :

  • To what extent does the parents’ experience of war influence the choice of dietary consumption in children born after the end of the war?
  • Inversely, to what extent do the opportunities arising with the arrival of peace, which favors a potential change of class, promote, diffuse or incite people towards a new consumption ethos, particularly in terms of diet?
  • How, and with what effect on dietary habits among children, is this new way of life appropriated by the middle class?
  • How do relations of influence establish themselves between adults and children in the area of dietary habits?


We carried out :

  • Several dozen interviews with middle class families, 6 of which were double interviews ;
  • Telephone interviews with established lower middle class families, about their portrayal ;
  • Focus groups with people from a target group, following on from 13 questionnaires ;
  • Observation lunches in the homes of lower middle class families ;
  • Educational events for children from lower middle class families ;
  • Observation during « free time activities » and collecting accounts from the heads of community centres about dietary habits among middle class children.

The contents of the report can be read on line here.

The photography project

« Instead of concentrating on the people themselves to discover their differences, I decided to focus on the signs and distinctiveness of their diet : places where food is bought, the different esthetics and choice of display ; meals, shot from above in order to perceive varying social habits ; advertising images consumed in Angolan society to bring recurring symbols to light.

If Angolan way of life has admittedly evolved since the civil war, there is no guarantee that the middle class is the future of this country. As everywhere else, some people are undeniably becoming more and more wealthy. But the generalisation of a sated and contented consumer can be credited more to advertising imagery than a social reality visible on every street corner. »

Journalist accounts

Alongside the analytical and visual creation work, a journalist wrote four articles about the key – and most representative – moments of middle class daily life relating to dietary habits. This was highlighted by the work of the expert and the visual artist.

They are published and available here :

A historic couple
Fish & Ana
Food for thought

Olivier Culmann’s choice of an artistic angle for his photography work was to examine the specificities of individual food habits by looking at how dining tables are organised and demonstrating the symbols inherent to advertising :

  • A limited book edition has been published. "Alimentary particles" contains a selection of authored photographs as well as journalist accounts and a text to introduce the artistic approach of the photographer. An extract of the book can be read here.
  • An exhibition was held at our client’s HQ. It combined art photogtaphy work, elements of the sociological analysis undertaken by our research team, and corporate visual portraits of our client’s distributor, used for in-house promotional activities. Watch the video of the making of :

Vernissage exposition "Afro Food...for thought" 25/10/2012 from Collateral Creations on Vimeo.

  • A TV report on France O, dedicated to our exhibition has been broadcasted :

Reportage France O - Exposition BEL from Collateral Creations on Vimeo.