Supermarkets and agro-industrial foods : the strategic manufacturing of consumer trust

Richards, Carol, Lawrence, Geoffrey, & Burch, David (2011) Supermarkets and agro-industrial foods : the strategic manufacturing of consumer trust. Food, Culture & Society, 14(1), pp. 29-47.

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There is increasing evidence of a weakened platform of consumer trust in mass produced food products. The resistance shown by consumers to the agro-industrial paradigm is evident in an emergent phase of reflexive consumerism, public reactions to an overly-concentrated retail sector and the rise of alternative food networks such as farmers' markets and organic box schemes. Supermarkets are responding strategically by aiming to manufacture new trust relations with consumers. This paper identifies three key strategies of trust manufacturing:

(i) reputational enhancement though the institution of “behind the scenes,” business-to-business private standards; (ii) direct quality claims via private standard certification badges on food products, and ; (iii) discursive claimsmaking through symbolic representations of “authenticity” and “tradition.”

Drawing upon the food governance literature and a “visual sociology” of supermarkets and supermarket produce, we highlight how trust is both commoditized and increasingly embedded into the marketing of mass-produced foods.

Impact and interest:

11 citations in Scopus
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10 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 68213
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Trust, Food, Private regulation, Food governance, Supermarkets, Alternative food networks
DOI: 10.2752/175174411X12810842291146
ISSN: 1552-8014
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Deposited On: 12 Mar 2014 04:18
Last Modified: 28 Mar 2014 00:11

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