Navigation Links
Alternative food networks connect ethical producers and consumers and can lead to healthier eating
Date:10/10/2007

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.


'/>"/>
Contact: Danielle Moore
danielle.moore@esrc.ac.uk
01-793-413-122
Economic & Social Research Council
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. New Insights Into HIV Immunity Suggest Alternative Approach to Vaccines
2. Products containing specific probes for detecting alternative splice forms protected
3. Discovery of New Dopamine Action May Yield Alternative Psychiatric Drugs
4. Drug Offers Alternative to Surgical Treatment After Miscarriage
5. Plant pathologists evaluate eco-friendly alternatives to methyl bromide
6. Common alternative treatment for liver disease is found to be ineffective
7. Alternatives to the use of nitrate as a fertiliser
8. Rhesus monkeys in Nepal may provide new alternative for HIV/AIDS research
9. Jumping gene could provide non-viral alternative for gene therapy
10. Protect patients from exploitation by alternative medicines industry
11. Stem cells found in adult hair follicles may provide alternative to embryonic stem cells
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/26/2016)... India and LONDON ... Infosys Finacle, part of EdgeVerve Systems, a product ... and Onegini today announced a partnership to integrate ... solutions.      (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20151104/283829LOGO ... to provide their customers enhanced security to access ...
(Date:4/19/2016)... 20, 2016 The new GEZE ... compact web-based "all-in-one" system solution for all door components. ... or the door interface with integration authorization management system, ... systems. The minimal dimensions of the access control and ... building installations offer considerable freedom of design with regard ...
(Date:4/15/2016)... 15, 2016 Research and ... Biometrics Market 2016-2020,"  report to their offering.  , ... , ,The global gait biometrics market is expected ... the period 2016-2020. Gait analysis generates ... be used to compute factors that are not ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)...  Global demand for enzymes is forecast to ... $7.2 billion.  This market includes enzymes used in ... production, animal feed, and other markets) and specialty ... and beverages will remain the largest market for ... products containing enzymes in developing regions.  These and ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... CA (PRWEB) , ... June 27, 2016 , ... ... for clinical trials, announced today the Clinical Reach Virtual Patient Encounter CONSULT ... care circle with the physician and clinical trial team. , Using the CONSULT module, ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... , June 27, 2016   Ginkgo Bioworks , ... industrial engineering, was today awarded as one of ... of the world,s most innovative companies. Ginkgo Bioworks ... for the real world in the nutrition, health ... work directly with customers including Fortune 500 companies ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Researchers at the Universita Politecnica delle ... people with peritoneal or pleural mesothelioma. Their findings are the subject of a new ... , Diagnostic biomarkers are signposts in the blood, lung fluid or tissue of mesothelioma ...
Breaking Biology Technology: