This paper explores different ways of organizing food practices in shopping, cooking, and managing leftovers and shows how these relate to sustainability. We conducted an ethnographic study in France based on in-depth and repeated interviews with around 30 ‘ordinary’ consumers aged between 30 and 87 years. We analyzed the interviews using a practice–theory approach and distinguished meanings, materials, and skills linked to food products and eating. We identify four patterns of everyday food practices, each coherently linking specific ways of provisioning, storing, cooking, waste sorting, and other practices. We show how households adopt patterns according to their social characteristics and place of residence and how they switch from one pattern to another according to circumstances. Each pattern comprises some sustainable practices, although not always at the same level. We highlight not only the role of material infrastructure in framing access to food products, but also the necessity to consider temporal organization, financial resources, household size, and social position to understand food practices. Food practices also differ according to definitions of proper eating, which may vary in the long run according to life course events, and in the short run according to the context of meals. We conclude by discussing different ways to promote more sustainable eating.
Review of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Studies – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 29, 2018
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