From the 1970s onwards, studies of the dynamics involved in family food provisioning in Britain and the USA have provided consistent evidence of the centrality of husbands and male breadwinners to food decisions. Recent studies are beginning to show the significance of children or the “junior consumer” to household food decisions. This paper reports on focus groups conducted in Australia in the mid‐1990s that support the argument that children exert considerable influence over family diets. One obvious reason for this trend lies in the activities of food retailers and advertisers/marketers, who target their goods, services and messages to children. These marketplace actors are encouraging children to identify as consumers. A less obvious explanation, and the one explored in this paper, concerns changing parenting practices. Despite the double workload of many family food providers, children's demands are being responded to in unprecedented ways. Metaphorically, children are displacing male adults at the head of the table. The paper comments on the consequences of children's dominance over dietary practices.
British Food Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: Mar 1, 2004
Keywords: Parents; Children (age groups); Obesity; Food and drink; Consumers; Australia
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