Article  2014

Fresh is best ? Social position, cooking, and vegetable consumption in France

ALISS Working Papers


This paper uses theories of practice to offer new lines of analysis of distinction through food. Middle-class households typically consume more vegetables than lower-class households. We examine aspects of vegetable consumption practices that might explain this fact. After briefly presenting theories of practice, we define vegetable consumption as a practice. We use household purchase data collected in 2007 for 2,600 French households to address two questions : Is this theoretical framework relevant in accounting for the determinants of fresh and processed vegetable purchases, and how do commitments to cooking and shopping intervene in the relationship between class position and vegetable consumption? We conclude that distinction occurs through modes of engagement in vegetable consumption. Because the practice’s teleoaffective structure is consistent with middle-class notions of health and proper food, these households engage more in fresh vegetable consumption, even though their commitment to cooking is rather low.

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