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How consumption prescriptions affect food practices: Assessing the roles of household resources and life-course events

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Journal of Consumer Culture

Published online on


Food consumption has become the subject of many prescriptions that aim to improve consumers’ health and protect the environment. This study examined recent changes in food practices that occurred in response to prescriptions. Based on practice theories, we assume that links that connect practices with prescriptions result from evolving social interactions. Consistent with the life-course perspective, we focus on distinctions between public prescriptions and standards that individuals consider relevant to their lives. We rely on quantitative data and the results of qualitative fieldwork conducted in France. Our results suggest that consumers may change food practices when they reach turning points in their lives. They may reconsider resources, skills and standards. Middle- and upper-class individuals are more likely to adopt standards consistent with public prescriptions. Possible explanations are that they trust expert knowledge sources, their social networks are less stable and smaller gaps exist between their standards and prescriptions.