MetaTOC stay on top of your field, easily

Moral conventions in food consumption and their relationship to consumers social background

Journal of Consumer Culture

Published online on


The purpose of this article is to examine how social background influences the way people evaluate and justify their food consumption. Theoretically, the article combines Bourdieu’s theory of class-based practices with Boltanski and Thévenot’s theory of situated judgement in order to better understand how social class and moral values are connected. Empirically, the article analyses how social class might constrain or enable certain types of justification for food consumption. Using quantitative data on Danish food consumers’ attitudes to food, shopping and cooking, together with information on their social background, the analysis investigates the relation between consumers’ use of five orders of worth (Civic, Industrial, Inspired, Domestic and Health, and Market) and their cultural, economic and social capital as well as socio-demographic background. The main results are that four of the orders of worth (Civic, Industrial, Inspired and Market) are strongly related to consumers’ cultural capital, and to some extent social capital, but not to economic capital. Other background variables such as age and gender also influence which consumers adhere to different food evaluation criteria. The results support the notion that plural moralities are at play in food consumption, especially within groups with high cultural capital.