The paper is an attempt to analyze the role of consumers and some of the most important trends in the food systemin the Eght of a new interpretative key that refers to the concept of postmodernity which has been generated in the field of sociology and progressively outlined from the first 80s. In postmodern society the act of consumption becomes an expression of culture and identity creation, products as material objects lose their importance and they become marks, symbols and a way to communicate personality. These phenomenons are difficult to interpret with the standard theory of neoclassical consumer, although several attempts in this direction have been carried out. For example, the proposal to introduce a function of happiness to express the features and behavior of the postmodern consumer is a possibility to be explored but certainly not yet a new theory. In the first part of the report the concept of postmodernism, its origin and evolution is discussed. Later, in the light of this new interpretative key the changing role of the consumer is analyzed. Finally, as case studies, the strategies of modern distribution and the problem oftypical Italian food products in foreign markets are also discussed. All the analysed cases, illustrate very well the traditional rules can lead to political intervention pontentially erroneous, as for example, an excess of expenditure in food safety policy or policies of the national mark.
Keywords: Postmodernity, consumer behaviour, modern distribution, italian sounding
Jel Code: DII, ZI3
Gianni Cicia, Luigi Cembalo, Teresa Del Giudice, Fabio Verneau, Agri-food system and the postmodern consumer: new challenges for research and for markets in "ECONOMIA AGRO-ALIMENTARE" 1/2012, pp. 117-142, DOI:10.3280/ECAG2012-001006