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Depicting eaters and non-eaters of abnormal fruits and vegetables: Reflections of self-identity and food culture

Abstract : To reduce food waste, retailers have been offering non-calibrated fruits and vegetables (FaVs) in recent years, yet the acceptance of such produce is still far from unanimous. Using reciprocal projections, our research performs a comparative analysis of French consumers' representations of eaters and non-eaters of misshapen FaVs. The overall representations rest on lexical registers that refer to economic, ecological, and sociocultural rationales. Results highlight two opposing representations of the two customer segments studied. Ugly FaVs thus reactivate current tensions that are challenging the traditional French food model. The dominant and positive description of eaters of ugly FaVs is manifested as an implicit defense of a particular French food identity that values cooking with natural and special products. Conversely, the description of non-eaters of imperfect FaVs points to the erosion of this identity in favor of a more pragmatic relationship with food, one that values standardized products. Thus, the sustainability of offering misshapen FaVs depends on the retailers' ability to reduce tensions linked to contrasting food identities by implementing educational actions aimed at children and/or immersive point-of-purchase campaigns.
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Submitted on : Friday, October 15, 2021 - 9:24:16 AM
Last modification on : Saturday, October 16, 2021 - 3:41:24 AM

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Gervaise Debucquet, Cindy Lombart, Blandine Labbé-Pinlon. Depicting eaters and non-eaters of abnormal fruits and vegetables: Reflections of self-identity and food culture. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, Elsevier, 2021, 62, pp.102673. ⟨10.1016/j.jretconser.2021.102673⟩. ⟨hal-03379585⟩

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