Everyday reconciliations of ‘foodyism’ and meat alternatives

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Sami Koponen University of Helsinki, Finland

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Mari Niva University of Helsinki, Finland

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Senja Laakso University of Helsinki, Finland

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Niina Silander University of Helsinki, Finland

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Meat alternatives may play an important role in sustainable food transitions. However, numerous barriers to the increased consumption of these products have been identified. This paper explores the consumption of meat alternatives in relation to ‘foodyism’, understood here as contemporary discourses and practices of gourmet food glorifying ‘exoticism’ and ‘authenticity’. Foodyism can be viewed as a relevant cultural barrier to the increased uptake of meat alternatives, especially due to its adherence to the notion of authenticity. The paper argues that the cultural and symbolic tension between foodyism and meat alternatives must be sufficiently resolved if meat alternatives are to play a key role in sustainable food transitions. Accordingly, inspired by practice theoretical approaches in consumption research, and based on an analysis of qualitative data collected in Finland in 2020 through an online questionnaire (N=448, of which 49 were included in the final analysis), the paper focuses on describing the reconciliation of foodyism and meat alternatives already evident in the food-related practices of food practitioners. The performances of reconciliation described in this paper are characterised by ‘looking beyond individual ingredients’, ‘laborious and skilful cooking’, and the meanings of home food and creativity. The results suggest that the ways of ‘doing foodyism’ may be changing in the wake of the current ecological crises, and the paper argues that the new patterns are worth advocating in efforts to advance the practical and symbolic acceptance of meat alternatives.

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Sami Koponen University of Helsinki, Finland

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Mari Niva University of Helsinki, Finland

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Senja Laakso University of Helsinki, Finland

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Niina Silander University of Helsinki, Finland

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