Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Alternative food networks connect ethical producers and consumers and can lead to healthier eating

11.10.2007
In the light of growing concerns about the separation of producers and consumers in our food system and the power of big supermarkets, new research funded by Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) provides valuable insights into the motivations and practices of consumers and producers involved in ‘alternative food’ networks, which include schemes as varied as organic vegetable boxes, community gardens and farm animal adoption.

Through participation, consumers tended to increase their consumption of fruit and vegetables, and improve their cooking skills and knowledge about food. The research also found some evidence of a ‘graduation effect’, whereby involvement in an alternative food scheme encouraged consumers to change their consumption behaviours in relation to other goods, such as household products and clothes.

Although the majority of consumers use alternative food sources alongside supermarkets, they often did not trust them and felt that the quality of supermarket food was inferior. Many reported that they only shopped there out of necessity. Alternative food projects also challenge supermarket-led notions of food choice. Although they may provide less choice in terms of types of product, consumers in our research associated these projects with a greater variety of foods, many of which are unavailable on supermarket shelves.

People take part in alternative food networks for a range of economic, ethical and personal reasons and these vary over time and in relation to life events such as moving house or the birth of a baby. For many, a key motivation was a desire to care for people and places, both close and distant. This involved reducing food miles, sourcing Fairtrade whenever possible, or looking for products with reduced environmental impacts and high animal welfare standards.

Dr Moya Kneafsey from Coventry University, who led the research commented “Consumers enjoyed being able to ask the producers about their products and felt reassured about the quality and safety of the food. Alternative food schemes enable consumers to make a direct connection with food producers, and can result in relationships of trust and loyalty.”

The researchers also identified challenges for alternative food networks. There were concerns amongst producers as to how to maintain their connection with consumers in the face of possible future growth. Many alternative food projects do not necessarily want to get bigger, as they might lose the sense of ‘connection’ which has been established between producers and consumers.

On the other hand, small schemes are under threat from two directions. First, large retailers are trying to create a sense of ‘connection’ with producers through the use of marketing strategies – such as providing names and pictures of growers and farmers on packaging. Second, rapidly expanding semi-national box delivery schemes such as Abel & Cole and Riverford Organics are also tapping into the interest in sourcing organic foods.

Danielle Moore | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esrc.ac.uk
http://www.esrcsocietytoday.ac.uk

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht New malaria analysis method reveals disease severity in minutes
14.08.2017 | University of British Columbia

nachricht New type of blood cells work as indicators of autoimmunity
14.08.2017 | Instituto de Medicina Molecular

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>