The voices of women cooks in food markets in La Paz
Bolivian diets have changed significantly in recent years as a result of urbanisation, increased purchasing power, and changes in consumer preferences. Despite this, the food system in cities like La Paz is still based on traditional wholesale and retail markets. Popular dining areas, where cooked food is sold inside these markets, occupy an important place within this system as they enable people to access nutritious, affordable food, as well as keeping the country’s culinary traditions alive. Nevertheless, the viability of these market dining areas is threatened by competition and by changes in consumption patterns.
This paper presents the results of research carried out together with women vendors in the dining areas of the Achumani and Obrajes markets in La Paz. Focusing on the voices of the women, through discussions and workshops, and through surveys conducted with customers, we gained valuable insights about the women’s needs and concerns and about their customers’ preferences.