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Exploring the social value of organic food: a qualitative study in France

Costa, Sandrine; Zepeda, Lydia and Sirieix, Lucie (2014) Exploring the social value of organic food: a qualitative study in France. International Journal of Consumer Studies, pp. 228-237.

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Document available online at: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01506305


he purpose of this paper is to investigate whether organic foods are used to signal social identity, class or status, i.e. if they have social value. Our analysis is based on two sociological approaches: Bourdieu's theory of social reproduction and symbolic interactionism. This paper analyses three research questions: (1) does organic food have social symbolism?; (2) does the social value of organic food depend on the venue where it is obtained?; (3) are other symbols associated with the social value of organic food? To answer these questions, we gather qualitative data from organic food shoppers' perceptions of the social value of organic food, using a qualitative study, with four group interviews in Montpellier (France) with a total of 20 participants. Results indicate that organic food has a social value for the participants in our group interviews. This social value depends on the venue (community-supported agriculture, market or supermarket) where organic foods are purchased and also on whether consumers or producers exhibit additional green behaviours to validate their commitment to sustainability. Our results imply that a quantitative study on social value of organic food would be useful to investigate these findings in a larger sample since these findings have several marketing and advertising implications.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:alimentation biologique (en), symbolic interactionism (en), sociologie (en), organic food (en), status (en), human feeding (en), alimentation humaine (fr), agriculture biologique (fr), marketing (fr), comportement des consommateurs (fr), pierre bourdieu (fr)
Subjects:"Organics" in general
Research affiliation: France > INRAe - Institut national de recherche pour l’agriculture, l’alimentation et l’environnement
ISSN:ISSN: 1470-6423
Project ID:HAL-INRAe
Deposited By: PENVERN, Servane
ID Code:41500
Deposited On:12 Aug 2021 10:37
Last Modified:12 Aug 2021 10:37
Document Language:English

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