Why care?

As these examples illustrate, some objects or practices are excluded from the marketplace, whereas others are part of it despite their detrimental impact. According to prior research structural-ideological constraints, normative barriers or the attitude-behavior gap (i.e. individuals do not act according to their attitudes) lie at the heart of this paradox (Holt, 2012; Gollnhofer, 2017).

Understanding the mechanisms as to how certain practices can be excluded or included in the marketplace offers tremendous potential on our way to a more sustainable society.

So what?

We as marketers/marketing scholars occupy a special nodal point for solving challenging questions in our contemporary world (such as questions related to sustainability).

Similar to making a product more or less desirable, we can normalise or “denormalise” certain practices. By drawing on the example of food waste, the author outlines how through certain practices positive meanings can be attached to sustainable practices that are desirable, however excluded from the marketplace. In the case studied, this includes retracing the biography of the object, building communities, rituals and sacrifices. Those practices have the potential to shape our normative and cultural understanding of food items, this means our understanding on how long certain food items are still consumable (for instance, a pepper that is naturally decaying).

Those might not be the only strategies, there might be far more out there that will help to include sustainable practices into consumer society and the routines of consumers.


Holt, D. B. (2012). Constructing sustainable consumption: From ethical values to the cultural transformation of unsustainable markets. The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 644(1), 236-255. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0002716212453260
Gollnhofer, J. F. (2017). The Legitimation of a Sustainable Practice Through Dialectical Adaptation in the Marketplace. Journal of Public Policy & Marketing. http://dx.doi.org/10.1509/jppm.15.090
Gollnhofer, J. F., Hellwig, K., & Morhart, F. (2016). Fair is good but what is fair? Negotiations of distributive justice in an emerging non-monetary sharing model. Journal of the Association for Consumer Research, 1(2), 226–245.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/685706


Read the original research article:  Gollnhofer, J. (2017). Normalising alternative practices: the recovery, distribution and consumption of food waste. Journal of Marketing Management. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0267257X.2017.1301982

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Johanna F. Gollnhofer

Johanna Gollnhofer

Dr. Johanna F. Gollnhofer is Assistant Professor for Marketing at the University of Southern Denmark, Denmark and Research Associate at the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland. She is interested in Sustainable Challenges and the sharing economy. She published in international journals such as Journal of Macromarketing and Journal of Public Policy & Marketing.

Disclaimer: Any views expressed in this posting are the views of the Author(s), and are not necessarily the views of the JMM Editors, Westburn Publishers Ltd. or Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.