Emerging Forms of Food Consumer Behaviour and Food Governance

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This study will examine ways in which new media shape consumer activism and food governance.

Contemporary efforts to change the structure and dynamics of food systems often depend on altering the patterns of consumer behaviour. Yet our current models of how consumers source, share and interpret food-related information are being radically challenged by new sources of information, most prominently social media and other web-supported tools of collective organization.

Future interventions into food systems will depend on developing an improved understanding of these new media of consumer activism, the ways in which they mediate the advice and mandate of governing actors, and what they reveal about the types of information important to consumers as well as the forms of action they find effective and feasible.

The key questions to be addressed include the following:

  • What kinds of information and communications technologies are available and how are they mobilized to empower food consumers?
  • What kind of knowledge counts and who holds the right expertise in this field?
  • How is industry involved?

This research will examine how consumers use these new systems, whether internet-based consumer organisations, mobile apps or other emergent technologies, and how their engagement is reshaping contemporary modes of food governance.

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