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Alternative food systems and the citizen-consumer

  • Matthias Lehner
Publishing year: 2013
Language: English
Pages: 49-53
Publication/Series: The Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development
Volume: 3
Issue: 4
Document type: Journal article (letter)

Abstract english

Ethically informed and committed consumers are crucial to the functioning of many alternative food systems. These consumers are poorly understood, though, and their common description as informed and democratically minded finds little resemblance to the real world. Few individuals fit the ideal of the concept of the so-called citizen-consumer. This commentary therefore argues that both researchers and practitioners interested in the success of alternative food systems must rethink the concept of the citizen-consumer. By focusing on consumption contexts, cultural and social influences, and the impact of systems of provision on acts of ethical consumption, the nature of such acts will be better understood. This understanding will increase the chances for proliferation and longevity of consumption niches so crucial for market innovation.


  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
  • alternative food systems
  • citizen-consumer
  • sustainable consumption


  • ISSN: 2152-0798
Matthias Lehner
E-mail: matthias [dot] lehner [at] iiiee [dot] lu [dot] se

International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics (IIIEE)

Lund University P.O. Box 196, 22100 Lund, Sweden
Visiting Address: Tegnérsplatsen 4,Lund

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