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Consumer consciousness and the Chinese food chain - Urban understandings of a rural process

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Elizabeth Jackson, Professor Matthew GortonORCiD


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In-depth interviews (n=33) shed light on Chinese consumers’ understanding of the terms ‘food miles’ and carbon footprint’ and their salience in purchases of fresh food. The findings reveal a low level of understanding, and relevance in food choice. While consumers exhibit anxiety about environmental issues in relation to food purchasing, these are limited largely to egoistic concerns (impact of unsafe food on their health). Social-altruistic and biospheric concerns are largely absent, so that food purchases are not influenced by wider, global environmental matters. In future, debates on food miles and carbon footprints are only likely to gain traction for Chinese consumers if they are linked directly to their own health and well-being.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Jackson EL, Gorton M, Zhang D

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: Rural Sociological Society 75th Annual Meeting

Year of Conference: 2012

Pages: 76

Publisher: Rural Sociological Society