Shopping at the Australian Supermarket for meat, eggs, dairy goods, and other items with animal-based ingredients
thesisposted on 29.03.2022, 01:46 authored by Bryon Boyd
This thesis looks at supermarket shopping for meat and other animal - based foods from the perspective of supermarket shoppers , which is usually missing in food studies (Koch, 2012: 105). T he qualitative research took place in supermarkets across urban Sydney and the regional city of Nowra and involved conversations with staff, managers, security personnel, and shoppers. A total of twenty - two participants from various educational, religious, gender and cultural backgrounds and locations took part in accompanied shopping trip s and follow - up interviews. With the shopper at the forefront of this research, I examine how the enculturated practice of eating meat translates into the supermarket shopping experience . I also examine the tensions and complexities that are emerging around the ethics of factory farming and how they impact on the meat that is for sale in supermarkets. Rather than an approach that expands on an overarching argument, I have explore d a range of themes , such as how the remembrance of animal - based foodways inform s culinary and cultural capital , and how the politics of Islamophobia intersect with the meat that is for sale in Australian supermarkets . The predominance of female shoppers is another thread that was evident during observational field trips to supermarkets. Anecdotal evidence gathered during these trips revealed that women still fill the role of the household's primary shopper , and that supermarket shopping continues to be an undertaking that is mediated by gender. However, regardless of whether it is performed by women or men, shopping for animal - based foods, is emblematic of, as well as a performance of identity , class, and social relations. The extent to which not only culturally - informed taste, but also ethics of animal welfare, cost, health, and quality influences shoppers varies from location to location. In interviews, participant s discuss ed considerations such as whether a lower price was mo re important than health or nutritional values, whether premium prices equate to higher quality, whether animal welfare was relevant as an ethical or moral concern, and whether taste was an essential attribute that trumped other concerns. Sydney's cross - cultural mix is representative of the way in which contemporary urban Australia is transitioning towards cosmopolitanism, implying a commitment to what Corones (1988) has termed as ' multiculinarism ', or 'the coexistence, awareness and understanding of many different cuisines'. However, Nowra became an important site of investigation, where the issues of cultural capital, culinary neophobia and xenophobia all intersect ed . All of these phenomena are present in Sydney, but are condensed in Nowra's more monocultural environment, and revealed as 'culinary protest': the rejection of foods suspected of being halal - certified as a means of rejecting the foreign ' Other'. What these issues all have in common is that they are culturally determined, thus giving an insight into the social order of contemporary urban and country Australian culture. By looking at how , we learn to eat meat as children, and as adults , go on to habitually buy meat and other animal - based foods, I question how we make sense of what informs the decision - making processes that are in play when we shop at the supermarket . Thus, this thesis assists in shed ding new light on the 'social grammar' of Australia's omnivorous culinary identity.