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International affairs and multimedia production

The actors

> Coordinator : Doctor of Economic Sciences, lecturer in Economic Sciences at Paris-Sud university, specialised in development policy.
> Field : Sociologist, research officer in the Bureau d’Analyses Macro-économique (BAME) in the Senegalese Institute for Agricultural Research (Institut Sénégalais de Recherches Agricoles).
> Photographer : Alban Biaussat.
> Journalist : Africa desk at l’Humanité and report for IRIN (UN).



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 second field of our in-depth study of African middle class dietary habits highlighted the importance of the role and place of children within the nuclear family, as well as the static nature of this middle class marked by an upward social mobility that has been on-hold for the past few decades.

By highlighting these characteristics, the team of experts helped the photographer to choose a creative angle taking into account these aspect during the Tabaski holiday (Eïd).

What are the characteristics of the Senegalese middle class and how can their dietary habits be understood ?

Unlike other so-called emerging African countries, where economic vitality rhymes with social and cultural transformation, the Senegalese middle class are already old and rose with the country’s independence. But its evolution seems frozen since the crisis in the 1990s.

Socio-anthropological analysis

In Senegal, the established middle class represents 11,8% of the population. This established middle class is understood to be all households with a buying power of between 10 and 20 dollars per person per day. It is the upper layer of the middle class and is able to save as well as spend and consume superfluously. It is therefore, to a certain extent, sheltered from temporary fluctuations and the credit crunch.

This study has produced an overview of the current state of middle class dietary habits and identified its main trends. Particular attention was paid to the role of chidren in the evolution of middle class dietary habits.

The centre of attention in the middle class home, the child holds the dual role of agent (parental values and portrayals of dietary habits are passed down to the child) and actor (the child is also a vector in the evolution of dietary habits by influencing parental decisions).

To this end, we worked to understand :

  • The characteristics that constitute this emerging established middle class ;
  • The mechanics of transmitting behaviour and values from adult to child, as well as influential sources (parents, the media, peers etc.) ;
  • The supposed proportion of influence a child has on the choice of product bought by their parents ;
  • Dietary habits and products consumed by children during each meal both inside and outside the home.


Contacts targeted and methodology for collecting data :

  • The recrutement of 30 adults according to pre-set criteria ;
  • 16 semi-structured interviews, including two double interviews, in people’s homes ;
  • Three educational events with 11 children :
  • A 3-hour focus group with 5 participants ;
  • A week of participating observation during children’s play and lunchtime ;
  • Interviews with shopkeepers and accounts from teachers.

Observation and interviews in the main buying centres :

  • CASTOR market ;
  • SANDAGA market;
  • KERMEL market;

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

The photography project

« This photographic project endeavoured to follow, during Tabaski, six families who were chosen as being representative of the established middle classes, settled in various districts of Dakar.

Some of the families are old and have benefitted from an intellectual social progression. Others owe their more recent success to business endeavours. A feeling of anachronism lingers on however, and it is hard not to compare them to my idea of France’s middle classes during the post-Second World War period.

In order to visually portray this feeling of inertia, I wanted to imitate the photographic style of those years, showing images that are sometimes washed out and sometimes saturated.

As if the modernity of Senegal’s middle classes already had its own archives… »

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 :

Executive woman
Le grand business des buvettes scolaires
Très chers loisirs

  • A multimedia piece shot at our client’s distributor in Senegal, Saprolait, shows a series of interviews with some of its staff, focusing on their individual experiences and relationship to their job. Produced for internal use, this video work contributes to reinforce the linkages with our client and to show its collaborators the people in Senegal with whom they often interact from abroad.

Collateral Creations - Senegal - POM from Collateral Creations on Vimeo.

  • "Deweneti & bon apétit" is a body of photography work by Alban Biaussat. He followed several Senegalese families during the Tabaski which takes place one month after the fasting period of Ramadan. During this holiday, particular attention is given to children. The photographer chose a visual approach that makes use of an artificial filter to make the images look older, as an echoe to the fact that, for many long-establised Senegalese middle classes families, their situation has at best often stagnated since the 1990s :
  • A limited book edition has been published. "Deweneti & bon appétit" contains a selection of authored photographs as well as journalist accounts and a reflection on the artistic approach undertaken by the photographer. An extract of the book can beread here.
  • An exhibition was held in our client’s offices. It combined art works, elements of the sociological analysis and corporate photographs of our client’s distributors used for in-house promotion of the work of the Africa Team. 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.