Tag Archives: Ethical Shopping

Can consumers buy alternative foods at a big box supermarket?

Supermarket

Photo credit: plasticchef1 on Flickr Creative Commons

A commentary I published in the Journal of Marketing Management, “Can consumers buy alternative foods at a big box supermarket?”, is now available online (and free for the month of May). It’s part of a special issue that considers the question of “alternatives” in food and drink markets (Eds. J Smith Maguire, J Lang and D Watson). I use a case study of ethical meat to consider the diverse, often contradictory ideals that inform consumers’ search for alternatives to mainstream market options.

I propose three main takeaways. 1) The goal of producing  consumer alternatives is significantly hampered by the competing, and often contradictory demands of market forces. 2) The discourse of food alternatives uses a ‘win-win’ logic suggesting that consumers don’t have to sacrifice anything or change their habits. I believe that consumer projects for ecological and social change face a necessary but exceptionally challenging task of reshaping, and even downgrading consumer expectations. 3) Although I’m deeply sympathetic to the desire to “feel good” about shopping, the search for eco-social alternatives cannot simply make consumers feel good about their purchases. Food ‘alternatives’ have to go beyond feel good feelings, and address the material realities and limitations of niche markets.

Food and femininity in the Sociological Review

Food and Femininity Cover

Dr. Rebecca Sandover, an Associate Research Fellow in Geography at the University of Exeter, recently took the time to write a very thoughtful review of Food and Femininity. You can read the full piece in the Sociological Review, and here is an excerpt:

Through an immersion in the processes of decision making for household food choices, Food and Femininity offers a rich account of the thorny tensions faced by shoppers attempting to work out food ethics in their everyday eating lives. However, as Cairns and Johnston spotlight, these tensions are even more acute for women attempting to walk the tightrope of enacting feminist, post-feminist and healthy eating bodies within the framework of gendered food practices. . . . this book not only examines food and femininity, it also sets out feminist methodologies for researching food issues.