Inderscience Publishers

Food consumption models: market times, tradition times

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The following analysis seeks to focus on the movements and changes in food consumption as a result of forces whose particularity is to operate within different time periods. In fact, while market variables operate in relation to a globalisation project - understood, in our case, as the project of homogenisation and standardisation of diets - many moments of food consumption remain under the control of variables. The rhythms of change of those variables are slow, especially when compared with market times. No wonder then that we observe, at the same time, movements towards dietary convergence, and also resistance to these changes as well as movements towards a growing heterogeneity of food consumption styles, which imply a revaluation of traditional agriculture, natural food and local cuisine. Furthermore, EU agricultural and social policies, in the shift from a productivist ideology to a re-evaluation of new ecological, social and economic equilibrium, are attempting to re-endow agriculture with its original multiplicity of functions - environmental, aesthetic, recreational, etc. An opportunity is seen for Europe in this context to defend its heritage of food traditions, techniques, landscapes and cultures against a globalisation project intended only or even mainly as standardisation and homogenisation.

Keywords: food consumption, rural development, globalisation, resistance, European Union

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