Special Issue: The question of ‘alternatives’ within food and drink markets and marketing
Journal of Marketing Management, Volume 33, 2017, Issue 7-8


The question of ‘alternatives’ within food and drink markets and marketing: introduction to the special issue
Jennifer Smith Maguire, David J. Watson & John T. Lang
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Running wild in the marketplace: the articulation and negotiation of an alternative food network
Ingrid Kajzer Mitchell, Will Low, Eileen Davenport & Tim Brigham
“In this paper, we examine how actors within what we conceptualise as an emerging wild food alternative network are navigating through the foodscape to find alternatives to homogenous and standardised food products. Drawing on data from different research engagements with wild food consumers and producers over the last decade in Canada, we use the context of wild foods to explore how the ‘alternative’ is being articulated and negotiated …” Read more >

Making a market for alternatives: marketing devices and the qualification of a vegan milk substitute
Christian Fuentes & Maria Fuentes
“The aim of this paper is to describe, conceptualise and critically discuss how and with what consequences marketing is used to construct a mass market for vegan substitutes. Drawing on the concepts of the marketing device and qualification, it shows how Oatly – a Swedish company making oat-based products – enrols three sets of marketing devices, i.e. digital media, packaging and stores, to simultaneously ‘alternativise’ and ‘convenienise’ its range of vegan products. The result is the material and discursive construction of a range of vegan products that is qualified as different enough from conventional dairy products to be an attractive alternative, but similar enough to fit into existing practices of shopping for food, cooking and eating …” Read more > Read the Blog >

Making a market for male dairy calves: alternative and mainstream relationality
Gillian C. Hopkinson
“The article uses actor network theory and the field of market studies to take a processual and relational approach to the alternative/mainstream food duality. Questions about how food systems or products make claim to be of the alternative or mainstream, and to what consequence, underpin the study. Analysis traces the making and shaping of two market versions for male dairy calves, a by-product of the dairy industry, often treated as ‘waste’ in the UK …” Read more > Read the Blog >

Alternative food consumption (AFC): idiocentric and allocentric factors of influence among low socio-economic status (SES) consumers
Wided Batat, Paula C. Peter, Handan Vicdan, Valerie Manna , Ebru Ulusoy, Emre Ulusoy & Soonkwan Hong
“This paper explores the factors that drive consumer demands for alternative food consumption (AFC) options in western society (i.e. plant-based, organic and local diets) as means to achieve sustainability and a state of food well-being. Specifically, we propose a holistic framework in order to identify factors that influence its adoption: idiocentric (functional, ideological and experiential) and allocentric (situational, sociocultural and institutional) …” Read more >

Food capacity in alternative food markets: visceral encounters, bodily interactions and contagious magic
Helene Cherrier
“Taking inspiration from assemblage thinking and the vitality of matter, this study examines the negotiated, contested and nonlinear formation of highly marginalised and stigmatised alternative food market. The analysis of an ethnographic case study shows that tensions of disorder, abjection and dangerisation spark when components of an alternative food market assemblage misaligns with prevailing social norms, values and institutional arrangements. Although these tensions threaten the alternative food market assemblage, further analysis reveals the capacity of food to assuage these tensions …” Read more >

Normalising alternative practices: the recovery, distribution and consumption of food waste
Johanna F. Gollnhofer
“Certain practices are excluded from markets, even though they may contribute to more sustainable systems. Other practices are integral to markets despite their highly detrimental impacts. This study investigates how alternative practices in the food sector became integrated into the market through normalisation processes. Using a qualitative approach, it examines the processes by which practices, including the recovery, distribution and consumption of food waste, went from being excluded from a mainstream food market to becoming normalised within it …” Read more > Read the Blog >

Complicating conventionalisation
Juliet B. Schor & Connor J. Fitzmaurice
“A central theme of the literature on alternative food and drink markets is whether these efforts maintain their alterity as they grow, or whether they conventionalise. We argue that conventionalisation is not inevitable. Furthermore, analysts of the consumer version of this process, co-optation theory, often fail to recognise that alternative entrants often transform both sides of a market …” Read more >

Can there really be ‘True’ alternatives within the food and drink markets? If so, can they survive as alternative forms?
George Ritzer
“This commentary deals with the issue of alternative food and drink from the perspective of my work on such topics as disenchantment, enchantment, McDonaldization, nothing, prosumption, rationalisation and something. The conclusion is that the interests of, and pressure from, large-scale profit-making businesses will, to a large extent, undermine efforts to produce ‘true’ alternatives in food and drink …” Read more >

Can consumers buy alternative foods at a big box supermarket?
Josée Johnston
“While consumers in affluent countries are ever hungry for alternatives to the ‘Big-Food’ mainstream, critical scholars have raised serious questions about the meaning of ‘alternative’ food products. I explore scholarly critiques of alternative food, and argue against a binary approach that sees foods as either alternative or not alternative. Instead, I suggest the utility of taking a multifaceted, ‘family of issues’ approach that is both reflexive and materialist. The case of ethical meat is used to explore the myriad, often contradictory ideals contained within consumers’ search for alternatives to mainstream market options. Three cautionary lessons are put forward …” Read more >

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