Click here to download

Consumption and consumers of food products in the postmodern society
Journal Title: ECONOMIA AGRO-ALIMENTARE 
Author/s: Elena Viganò, Gervasio Antonelli, Gian Italo Bischi, Fabio Tramontana 
Year:  2015 Issue: Language: Italian 
Pages:  22 Pg. 59-80 FullText PDF:  157 KB
DOI:  10.3280/ECAG2015-001004
(DOI is like a bar code for intellectual property: to have more infomation:  clicca qui   and here 


The concept of the ‘postmodern consumer’ plays a central role in the debate, started in the early 80s, about economic, social and cultural changes in developed countries in the years following the end of the second world war. These changes were interpreted as a passage from modern to postmodern society. According to this literature, postmodern conditions have had a significant impact on the consumer, especially with regard to his/her psychological characteristics. In this new framework the consumer is viewed as someone more interested in the symbolic or cultural value of products and services than in their functional and utility value. At the same time, he/she is represented as an active player in the market scenario, exercising the freedom to move in search of trademarks, symbols and experiences through which he/she can communicate his/her own identity. The figure of the postmodern consumer is difficult to place in the framework of standard neoclassical theories on consumerism, which highlights the shortcomings of this theoretical approach in studying the behavior of the postmodern consumer. These shortcomings are likely to be more relevant when considering the consumer of food products, given the strong nexus between consumption and the well-being of the consumer and the symbolic and cultural value that food products project. The main goal of the paper is to provide an interdisciplinary overview of the postmodern consumer of food products by means of an analysis of scientific literature, mainly in the areas of behavioral economics, sociology and psychology. Following this, the paper focuses on questions regarding information and the rational behavior of consumers as being the main hypothesis upon which standard neoclassical theories are based, adding to the traditional approach to consumer choice the new insights provided by this different perspective. Finally, the implications of this type of analysis for food safety and quality policies are considered, together with a discussion on further research needed to define more effective policies.
Keywords: Postmodernity, consumer behaviour, consumption of food products, food security policy
Jel Code: D11, Z13, I18

  1. Alberoni, F. (1964). Consumi e società. Bologna: il Mulino.
  2. Al-Mutawa, F.S., Elliott, R. & Nuttall, P. (2014). Foreign brands in local cultures: A socio-cultural perspective of postmodern brandscapes, Journal of Consumer Behaviour., DOI: 10.1002/cb.1508
  3. Amendola, G. (2003). La città postmoderna. Bari: Laterza.
  4. Asp, E.H. (1999). Factors affecting food decisions made by individual consumers. Food Policy, 24(2), 287-294., DOI: 10.1016/S0306-9192(99)00024-X
  5. Bauman, Z. (2000). La solitudine del cittadino globale. Milano: Feltrinelli.
  6. Bauman, Z. (2003). Modernità liquida. Bari: Laterza.
  7. Bauman, Z. (2007). Homo consumens. Lo sciame inquieto dei consumatori e la miseria degli esclusi. Trento: Erickson.
  8. Bazzani, B. & Canavari, M. (2013). Alternative Agri-Food Networks and Short Food Supply Chains: a review of the literature. Economia Agro-alimentare, XII(2), 11-34., DOI: 10.3280/ECAG2013-002002.
  9. Becker, T. (2004). Consumer Behaviour Research in the Advent of 21st Century. Paper Presented at Food Consumption Behaviour, Copenhagen, 16-17 November.
  10. Bieberstein, A., Roosen, J., Marette, S., Blanchemanche S. & Vandermoere F. (2013). Consumer choices for nano-food and nano-packaging in France and Germany. European Review of Agricultural Economics, 40(1), 73-94., DOI: 10.1093/erae/jbr069
  11. Bonnet C., Dubois, P. & Orozco V. (2008). Food consumption and obesity in France. Working Paper, Toulouse School of Economics, March.
  12. Bourdieu, P. (1979). La distinction. Critique sociale du jugement. Paris: Les Éditions de Minuit.
  13. Calvino, I. (1993). Lezioni americane. Sei proposte per il prossimo Millennio, Milano: Mondadori.
  14. Campbell, C. (2005). The craft consumer. Culture, craft and consumption in a postmodern society. Journal of Consumer Culture, 5(1), 23-42., DOI: 10.1177/1469540505049843
  15. Carr, E.R. (2006). Postmodern conceptualizations, modernist applications: Rethinking the role of society in food security. Food Policy, 31(1), 14-29., DOI: 10.1016/j.foodpol.2005.06.003
  16. Cembalo, L., Migliore G. & Schifani G. (2012). Consumers in Postmodern Society and Alternative Food Networks: The Organic Food Fairs Case in Sicily, New Medit, 11(3), 41-49.
  17. Censis, Coldiretti (2010). Primo rapporto sulle abitudini alimentari degli italiani, www.censis.it.
  18. Cersosimo, D. (a cura di) (2011). I consumi alimentari. Evoluzione strutturale, nuove tendenze, risposte alla crisi. Quaderni del Gruppo 2013. Atti del Workshop tenuto a Palazzo Rospigliosi, Roma, 27 settembre, Roma: Edizioni Tellus (www.gruppo2013.it).
  19. Chernev, A. (2011). The Dieter’s Paradox. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 21(2), 178-183., DOI: 10.1016/j.jcps.2010.08.002
  20. Chiurazzi, G. (2002). Il postmoderno. Milano: Mondadori.
  21. Cicia, G., Cembalo, L., Del Giudice, T. & Verneau, F. (2012). Il sistema agroalimentare ed il consumatore postmoderno: nuove sfide per la ricerca e per il mercato. Economia agro-alimentare, XIV(1), 117-142., DOI: 10.3280/ECAG2012-001006
  22. Cicia, G., Del Giudice, T. & Esposito, P. (2004). Semplicità operativa vs completezza nell’analisi delle preferenze del consumatore: un confronto tra conjoint analysis e modelli ad utilità stocastica, in G. Antonelli (a cura di), Marketing agroalimentare. Specificità e temi di analisi. Milano: FrancoAngeli.
  23. Cozzi, G. (2007). La pubblicità nell’economia dell’immateriale. Economia e Politica Industriale, (4), 25-36.
  24. Dagevos, H. (2005). Consumers as four-faced creatures. Looking at food consumption from the perspective of contemporary consumers. Appetite, 45(1), 32-39., DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2005.03.006
  25. Degli Esposti, P. (2004). Il cibo dalla modernità alla postmodernità. Milano: FrancoAngeli.
  26. De Masi, D. (1986). L’avvento post-industriale. Milano: FrancoAngeli.
  27. Dickson, P.R. & Sawyer, A.G. (1990). The Price Knowledge and Search of Supermarket Shoppers. Journal of Marketing, 54(3), 42-53,, DOI: 10.2307/1251815.
  28. Duesenberry, J.S. (1949). Income, Saving, and the Theory of Consumer Behavior. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
  29. Eco, U. (1983). Postille a Il nome della rosa. Milano: Bompiani.
  30. Ekelund, L. & Jönsson, H. (2011). How does Modernity Taste? Tomatoes in the Societal Change from Modernity to Late Modernity. Culture Unbound, 3, 439-454., DOI: 10.3384/cu.2000.1525.113439
  31. Elbel, B., Kersh, R., Brescoll, V.L. & Dixon, L.B. (2009). Calorie Labeling And Food Choices: A First Look At The Effects On Low-Income People In New York City. Health Affairs, 28(6), w1110-w1121., DOI: 10.1377/hlthaff.28.6.w1110
  32. Everts, J. & Jackson, P. (2009). Modernisation and the practices of contemporary food Shopping, Environment and Planning D. Society and Space, 27, 917-935,, DOI: 10.1068/d11908
  33. Fabris, G. (2003). Il nuovo consumatore: verso il postmoderno. Milano: FrancoAngeli.
  34. Fabris, G. (2008). Societing: il marketing nella società postmoderna. Milano: Egea.
  35. Fabris, G. (2010). La società post crescita. Consumi e stili di vita. Milano: Egea.
  36. Fabris, G. & Rullani, E. (2007). Il consumatore creativo. Cento e un modi di fare il mondo a propria immagine e somiglianza. Economia e Politica Industriale, (4), 7-24.
  37. Fagiolo, G. & Roventini, A. (2012). On Scientific Status of Economic Policy: A Tale of Alternative Paradigms. The Knowledge Engineering Review, 27(2), 163:185., DOI: 10.1017/S0269888912000124
  38. DiIacovo, F., Brunori, G. & Innocenti, S. (2013). Le strategie urbane: il piano de lcibo. Agriregioni europa, IX (32)
  39. Ferraris, G. (2006). Apprendimento: reti neurali, algoritmi genetici, sistemi a classificatore. In P., Terna, Boero, R., Morini, M. & Sonnessa, M. (Eds.). Modelli per la complessità. La simulazione ad agenti in economia. Bologna: il Mulino.
  40. Galbraith, J.K. (1952). American Capitalism: The Concept of Countervailing Power. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
  41. Gerolimetto M., Mauracher C. & Procidano I. (2008). Analyzing Wine Demand with Artificial Neural Networks. Journal of Wine Economics, 3(1), 30-50., DOI: 10.1017/S1931436100000547
  42. Giddens, A. (1990). The Consequences of Modernity. Stanford CA: Stanford University Press.
  43. Giddens, A. (1991). Modernity and Self-Identity: Self and Society in the Late Modern Age. Stanford CA: Stanford University Press.
  44. Gilbert, N. & Troitzsch, K.G. (2005). Simulation for the social scientist. Buckingham: Open University Press.
  45. Goldberg, D.E. (1989). Genetic Algorithms in search, optimization, and machine learning. New York: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company., DOI: 10.5860/CHOICE.27-0936
  46. Golino, A. (2012). Consumo, postmodernità, responsabilità sociale. Uno studio empirico sul farmer’s market in Molise, Tesi di Dottorato in Sociologia e ricerca sociale, XXIV Ciclo (2009-2011), Università degli Studi del Molise, Dipartimento di Scienze Umane, Storiche e Sociali.
  47. Haanpää, L. (2007). Consumers’ green commitment: indication of a postmodern lifestyle?. International Journal of Consumer Studies, 31(5), 478-486., DOI: 10.1111/j.1470-6431.2007.00598.x
  48. Hamouda, M. & Gharbi, A. (2013). The Postmodern Consumer: An Identity Constructor?. International Journal of Marketing Studies, 5(2), 41-49., DOI: 10.5539/ijms.v5n2p41.
  49. Hingley, M., Boone, J. & Haley, S. (2010). Local Food Marketing as a Development Opportunity for Small UK Agri-Food Businesses. International Journal on Food System Dynamics, 1(3), 194-203.
  50. Holt, D.B. (1997). Poststructuralist Lifestyle Analysis: Conceptualizing the Social Patterning of Consumption in Postmodernity. Journal of Consumer Research, 326-350., DOI: 10.1086/209487
  51. Howard, J.A. & Sheth, J.N. (1969). The Theory of buyer behavior. New York: John Wiley.
  52. ismea (2014). Consumi alimentari. I consumi domestici delle famiglie italiane, www.ismea.it (consultato nel mese di luglio 2014).
  53. Kahneman, D. & Tversky, A. (1979). Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision Under Risk, Econometrica, 47(2), 263-292., DOI: 10.2307/1914185
  54. Keynes, J.M. (1936). The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, Macmillan Cambridge University Press, Royal Economic Society.
  55. Kim, J. & Ahn, H. (2009). A New Perspective for Neural Networks: Application to a Marketing Management Problem. Journal of Information Science and Engineering, 25, 1605-1616.
  56. Kinsey, J. & Bowland, B. (1999). How can the US food system deliver food products consistent with dietary guidelines? Food marketing and retailing an economist’s view. Food Policy, 24(2), 237-253,, DOI: 10.1016/S0306-9192(99)00022-6
  57. Kirby, A. (2009). Digimodernism: How New Technologies Dismantle the Postmodern and Reconfigure Our Culture, London: Continuum International Publishing Group.
  58. Kirman A. (1992). Whom or What Does the Representative Individual Represent? Journal of Economic Perspectives, 6(2), 117-136., DOI: 10.1257/jep.6.2.117
  59. Klein, S. (2005). Does paying for obesity therapy make cents?. Gastroenterology, 128(3), 530., DOI: 10.1053/j.gastro.2005.01.04
  60. Kniazeva, M. & Venkatesh, A. (2007). Food for thought: A study of food consumption in postmodern US culture. Journal of consumer behaviour, 6(6), 419-435., DOI: 10.1002/cb.232
  61. Koszegi, B. & Rabin, M. (2006). A Model of Reference-Dependent Preferences. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 121(4), 1133-1165., DOI: 10.1093/qje/121.4.1133
  62. Koszegi, B. & Rabin, M. (2009). Reference-Dependent Consumption Plans. The American Economic Review, 99(3), 909-936., DOI: 10.1257/aer.99.3.909
  63. Kuchler, F., Tegene, A. & Harris, M. (2005). Taxing snack foods: Manipulation of diet quality or financing information programs. Review of Agricultural Economics, 27(1), 4-20., DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9353.2004.00204.x
  64. Lancaster, K.J. (1966). A New Approach to Consumer Theory. The Journal of Political Economy, 74(2), 132-157.
  65. LeBaron, B. (2006). Agent Based Computational Finance, in: L. Tesfatsion & K.L. Judd (eds.), Hanbook of Computanional Economics. Agent Based Computational Economics, North-Holland, Elsevier, pp. 1187-1233., DOI: 10.1016/S1574-0021(05)02024-1
  66. Lipovetsky, G. (2007). Una felicità paradossale. Sulla società dell’iperconsumo. Milano: Raffaello Cortina.
  67. Loewenstein, G. & Elster, J. (1992). Choice Over Time. New York: Russell Sage
  68. Foundation ed. Loewenstein, G., Read, D. & Baumeister, R.F. (2003). Time and Decision. New York: Russell Sage Foundation ed.
  69. Loureiro, M.L., Gracia, A. & Nayga, R.M., Jr. (2006). Do consumers value nutritional labels?, European Review of Agricultural Economics, 33 (2), 249-268., DOI: 10.1093/erae/jbl005
  70. Lyotard, J.-F. (1979). La condition postmoderne: rapport sur le savoir. Paris: Éditions de Minuit.
  71. Maffesoli, M. (1993). Nel vuoto delle apparenze. Milano: Garzanti.
  72. Marino, D. & Cicatiello, C. (2012). I farmers’ market: la mano visibile del mercato. Aspetti economici, sociali e ambientali delle filiere corte, Milano: FrancoAngeli.
  73. Maslow, A.H. (1943). A Theory of Human Motivation. Psychological Review, 50(4), 370-396:, DOI: 10.1037/h0054346
  74. Maxwell, S. (1996). Food security: a post-modern perspective, Food Policy, 21(2), 155-170., DOI: 10.1016/0306-9192(95)00074-7
  75. Morra, G. (1992). Il quarto uomo. Postmodernità o crisi della modernità?. Roma: Armando.
  76. Motterlini, M. (2014). Lampadine: l’etichetta non “illumina” il consumatore, lo confonde. Wired.
  77. Nestle, M. (2003). Food politics. Keynote address. American Agricultural Economics Association Annual Meeting, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, August.
  78. Neuner, M., Raab, G. & Reisch, L.A. (2005). Compulsive buying in maturing consumer societies: An empirical re-inquiry. Journal of economic psychology, 26(4), 509-522., DOI: 10.1016/j.joep.2004.08.002
  79. O’Donoghue, T. & Rabin, M., (2003). Studying Optimal Paternalism, Illustrated by a Model of Sin Taxes, American Economic Review, 93(2), 186-191., DOI: 10.1257/000282803321947029
  80. Pianta, M. (2012). Nove su dieci. Perché stiamo (quasi) tutti peggio di 10 anni fa. Roma: Laterza.
  81. Piore, M. & Sabel, C., (1984). The Second Industrial Divide: Possibilities for Prosperity. New York: Basic Books.
  82. Prelec D. & Loewenstein, G. (1998). The Red and the Black: Mental Accounting of Savings and Debt. Marketing Science, 17(1), 4-28., DOI: 10.1287/mksc.17.1.4
  83. Read, D. & van Leeuwen, B. (1998). Predicting Hunger: The Effects of Appetite and Delay on Choice. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 76(2), 189-205., DOI: 10.1006/obhd.1998.2803
  84. Renting, H., Marsden, T.K. & Banks, J. (2003). Understanding alternative food networks: exploring the role of short food supply chains in rural development. Environment and Planning A., 35(3), 393-411., DOI: 10.1068/a3510
  85. Rumiati, R., Mistri, M. & Bonini, N. (2000). La psicologia economica: modelli e metodi per lo studio psicologico del comportamento economico. Risorsa Uomo. Rivista di Psicologia del Lavoro e dell’Organizzazione, 7(3-4), 341-362.
  86. Sassatelli, R. (2004). Consumo, cultura e società. Bologna: il Mulino.
  87. Scharff, R.L. (2009). Obesity and Hyperbolic Discounting: Evidence and Implications, Journal of Consumer Policy, 32(1), 3-21., DOI: 10.1007/s10603-009-9090-0
  88. Semprini, A. (2003). La società di flusso. Milano: FrancoAngeli.
  89. Simonson, I. & Tversky, A. (1992). Choice in Context: Tradeoff Contrast and Extremeness Aversion. Journal of Marketing Research, 29(3), 281-295., DOI: 10.2307/3172740.
  90. Stastny, J., Turcinek, P. & Motycka, A. (2011). Using Neural Networks for Marketing Research Data Classification, Mathematical Methods and Techniques in Engineering and Environmental Science, The 10th wseas International Conference on Data Networks Communications, Computers, Catania, Italy.
  91. Stranieri, S., Baldi L. & Banterle, A. (2010). Do Nutrition Claims Matter to Consumers? An Empirical Analysis Considering European Requirement. Journal of Agricultural Economics, 61(1), 15-33., DOI: 10.1111/j.1477-9552.2009.00223.x
  92. Thaler, R.H. & Sunstein, C.R. (2003). Libertarian Paternalism. American Economic Review, 93(2), 175-179., DOI: 10.1257/000282803321947001
  93. Thaler, R.H. & Sunstein, C.R. (2009). Nudge. La spinta gentile. Milano: Feltrinelli.
  94. Thiel, D. (1999), An Interactive neural network for analysing the food consumer behaviour stability. In M., Hagg, Ahvenainen, R., Evers, A.M. & Tiilikkala, K. (Eds.), Agrifood Quality II, Quality Management of Fruit and Vegetables, Elsevier, Woodhead Publishing, pp. 40-44., DOI: 10.1533/9781845698140.2.40
  95. Touraine, A. (1969). La société post-industrielle. Paris: Denoël-Gonthier.
  96. Tversky, A. & Kahneman, D. (1992). Advances in Prospect Theory: Cumulative Representation of Uncertainty, Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, 5(4), 297-323., DOI: 10.1007/BF00122574
  97. Vattimo, G. (1985). La fine della modernità. Milano: Garzanti.
  98. Veblen, T. (1899). La teoria della classe agiata. Milano: Edizioni di Comunità.
  99. Venn, L., Kneafsey, M., Holloway, L., Cox, R., Dowler, E. & Tuomainen, H. (2006). Researching European ‘alternative’ food networks: some methodological consideration. Area, 38(3), 248-258., DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-4762.2006.00694.x
  100. Vermeulen, T. & van den Akker, R. (2010). Notes on metamodernism. Journal of Aesthetics & Culture, 2., DOI: 10.3402/jac.v2i0.5677
  101. Viganò, E., Mariani, A., Taglioni, C. & Torquati, B. (2012). Consumatori e canali alternativi per il biologico: il caso del Gruppo Organizzato di Domanda e Offerta di AIAB-Umbria. Economia Agro-Alimentare, XI(1), 173-194., DOI: 10.3280/ECAG2012-001008
  102. Wansink, B. (2004). Environmental Factors That Increase the Food Intake and Consumption Volume of Unknowing Consumers. Annual Review of Nutrition, 24(1), 455-479., DOI: 10.1146/annurev.nutr.24.012003.132140
  103. Wansink, B. (2007). Mindless eating. Perché mangiamo senza pensarci. Isola del Liri: Pisani.
  104. Wansink, B. & Payne, C.R. (2007). Counting Bones: Environmental Cues That Decrease Food Intake. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 104(1), 273-276., DOI: 10.2466/pms.104.1.273-276
  105. Wilkinson, J. (2001). «Dalla dittatura dell’offerta alla democrazia della domanda?» Alimenti transgenici, alimenti biologici e dinamiche della domanda nell’agroalimentare. QA – La Questione Agraria, 1, 47-64.
  106. Zamagni, S. (1984). Economia politica. Teoria dei prezzi, dei mercati e della distribuzione. Roma: La Nuova Italia Scientifica.
  107. Zanoli, R. & Naspetti, S. (2004). I metodi qualitativi nello studio del consumatore agroalimentare: una nota metodologica. In G. Antonelli (a cura di), Marketing agroalimentare. Specificità e temi di analisi. Milano: FrancoAngeli.
  108. Beck, U. (2000).La società del rischio. Verso una seconda modernità, Roma: Carocci Editore
  109. Heidhues, P. & Koszegi, B. (2014).Regular prices and sales. Theoretical Economics, 9 (1),217-251., DOI: 10.3982/TE1274
  110. Spaargaren, G. & Oosterveer, P. (2010).Citizen-consumers as Agents of Change in Globalizing Modernity: The Case of Sustainable Consumption. Sustainability, 2 (7), 1887-1908, DOI: 10.3390/su2071887

Elena Viganò, Gervasio Antonelli, Gian Italo Bischi, Fabio Tramontana, Consumption and consumers of food products in the postmodern society in "ECONOMIA AGRO-ALIMENTARE" 1/2015, pp. 59-80, DOI:10.3280/ECAG2015-001004

   

FrancoAngeli is a member of Publishers International Linking Association a not for profit orgasnization wich runs the CrossRef service, enabing links to and from online scholarly content