Consumer practice

Theme leader: Professor Peter Jackson

03-consumerThis research strand examines the role of consumer practice in shaping processes across the supply chain including food manufacturing, distribution and retail, and at the household level, tracing the effects of changing patterns of consumer demand on environmental sustainability and public health outcomes.

While ‘consumer choice’ is usually understood in highly individualised terms, our approach emphasises the routinised and habitual character of most food-related practices and the socio-technical infrastructures and systems of supply that underpin them. This strand also examines how these practices, infrastructures and systems of supply change over time and vary across space.

Understanding consumer practice through direct observation at the household level is also a priority rather than relying on self-reported or aggregate behaviour. A specific focus will be on the way domestic practices contribute to food waste throughout the food system and the ways that more sustainable practices can be embedded in consumers’ everyday lives. Future projects will also focus on the health and sustainability of ‘convenience’ food; the socio-technical production of freshness; and interactions between the Global North and the Global South in defining and improving food security.