The connection with food producers as a consumer trend

From the pandemic, due to the experience of consuming food at home, many people were able to reflect on their daily lives, the entire supply chain that makes it possible for a food to reach their table, or even the difficulties in the chain that they can make a food scarce.

In this way, we connect to something that had already been described as one of the characteristics of contemporary food: the production and distribution chains can be so long that this creates some confusion in the consumer, who in a certain way, may feel greater Anxiety about not knowing, for sure, where it comes from or why so many hands and / or transformations that food went through.

In a recent consumer survey conducted in the United States, it was estimated that the people whose daily life was most affected in terms of city use and digital life, that is, the people who were able to confine themselves at home and the majority of their working life, their food consumption and other types were resolved through the internet, they were the ones who had a greater need to feel linked with the producer, with the territory in which that food was produced and in some cases, with a past of nostalgia in which direct food from the producer to the table gives them a feeling of less anxiety.

In this way, for a certain socioeconomic level it does not matter having to pay a few dollars more, if the product they buy has characteristics such as small-scale production, artisanal or even, being able to put a face and name to the person who cultivated or prepared it. if it is a processed food (as in the case, for example, of cheeses, preserves and other prepared products). Consumer surveys have shown not only this pattern, but also the way in which people feel as a result of feeling more connected to the producer of a food. People report feeling greater security, comfort and relief when knowing this information, in the midst of global uncertainty. Somehow, they feel like they have a social bond (albeit virtual) with the person who produced, wrapped, prepared, or distributed that product for them.

And faced with this panorama, many producers have then used strategies to make people feel more identified with the way a food is produced, through people. Although there are products that are not made in an artisanal way, it is a trend then to inform about the processes that are followed to make a food. Some connections to the past can also come in the form of packaging design that goes back to other times.

In a situation of a world pandemic, and of food globalization, we therefore seek to have roots in the territory, in the past or in the people who produce our food. The digital age undoubtedly contributes to the feeling of need for roots, since virtual life and “real” life have never had more diffuse limits than in this situation of global contingency. Probably, just as it is increasingly accepted that the distinction between what is public and what is private seems obsolete, the distinction between what is digital and what is real is only differentiated by the way in which we relate to our consumption.

Twitter: @lilianamtzlomel

Liliana Martínez Lomelí

Food and society columnist


Food and society columnist. Gastronaut, observant and foodie. She is a researcher in the sociology of food, and a nutritionist. She is president and founder of Funalid: Foundation for Food and Development.

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