Food labelling: an information battlefield



Publication Details

Yeatman, H. (2017). Food labelling: an information battlefield. In J. Germov & L. Williams (Eds.), A Sociology of Food & Nutrition: The Social Appetite (pp. 91-109). South Melbourne, Australia: Oxford University Press.


The food Iabel is a key form of communication; it tells consumers about the food they have purchased, its quality, authenticity, beneficiaI qualities and potentia1 health impacts. Its role is to confirm trust in the product, through signifying accountability for honest trading and assurance of safety. The food label is also symbolic. It can serve to communicate wider food system factors, to reinforce social identity and to act as a focal point for social stigma. Nutrition 1abelling has increased in prominence, and aIso in function. It is rnoving from passive information provision to being considered an intervention to address the challenges of chronic illnesses. The rise in nutrition labelling has occurred concurrently with significant changes in economic policies, increased power of global food companies and changing roles of governments and governance. The food label is now a highly contested space that reflects the authority and power structures and forces within society.

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