Ice and easy? Fridge-freezers in Bangkok and Hanoi


A new Research Insight from the DEMAND Centre throws light on the role fridge-freezers can play in the balance between energy demand and social practices around food.

Researchers from the DEMAND Centre have carried out 52 interviews with people in Bangkok (Thailand) and Hanoi (Vietnam) around how they use their fridge-freezers, which have become common in households in these cities in one or two generations.

The research, led by Mattijs Smits and Jenny Rinkinen, found that although many people now have fridge-freezers it doesn’t mean they are locked into a typical ‘Western’ cycle of, for example, buying frozen foods from supermarkets. Indeed, some of the interviewees travelled regularly to rural villages to buy meat and vegetables as they were wary of health scares around supermarket foods.

The implications of the research are that a policy focus on increased energy efficiency in home appliances overlooks the complexity and flexibility of social practices around food. They argue that these practices are constantly changing and adapting and that the ‘need’ for larger fridge-freezers and complex food chains may well be driven by supermarkets, food producers and appliance manufacturers.

Read the Research Insight here: What’s in the fridge? Urbanisation, consumption and demand in Bangkok and Hanoi. (DEMAND research insight #11)

Read other DEMAND Research Insights