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From value-for-money to values-for-money: Ethical food and policy in Europe

Lang, T. (2010). From value-for-money to values-for-money: Ethical food and policy in Europe. Environment and Planning A, 42(8), pp. 1814-1832. doi: 10.1068/a4258


The author considers how ethical food raises complex challenges for policy makers. Looking mainly at Europe and developed countries, it is suggested that the notion of ethical food is plastic, but that therein lie its strength and appeal. Civil society movements see it as a rallying point to restructure food systems, from land use to consumption. The mainstream corporate sector sees ethical food as an umbrella term under which many, sometimes even competing, aspirations nestle, but which can be incorporated as additional niche markets. Far from being new, the ethical-food banner in the late 20th century has resurrected some older traditions, including those which contested power relations in the food system. But in the 21st century, with the world's food system under economic, environmental, social, and political stress, the ethical-food umbrella faces an uncertain future. It could be submerged by 'value-for-money'; consumerism; or it could become a champion of what the author calls an emerging set of 'omnistandards', under which fragmented single issues coalesce and articulate a new paradigm.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: Copyright Sage 2010
Publisher Keywords: Ethical food; food ethics; Europe; food policy; omni-standards;
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Healthcare Services Research & Management > Food Policy
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