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Minimising the impact?

The meanings of organic food

The full version of this article is available here.

Quod cibus est aliis, aliis est venenum.


Organic food is of growing importance to the agro-alimentary industry. It is promoted and marketed as having significant health benefits while being less harmful to the local environment than conventional agriculture. Its success is often attributed to its ability to represent different things for different people. This research, making use of unstructured interviews, aims to investigate the nature of the meanings that consumers attach to organic food products and their implications.

It argues that the meaning of organic food is constructed in opposition to that of conventional food products, and that indeed it is different for different people. It shows that for those who choose to consume it, organic food is what food should be and that the motivations for this consumption continue be wide ranging. Furthermore, it goes on to argue that the nature of the motivation is directly responsible for the contradictions the consumer may encounter along the consumption process.

Over the past few years, the rise of ethical consumption, whether it is organic, local or fair trade food products, has brought a whole new set of dilemmas. This work concludes by exploring some of the most significant issues that consumers have to address when considering organic food as part of the ethical consumption.

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The full version of this article is available here.