Social routines and the consumption of food

Mark Tomlinson and Andrew McMeekin

in Innovation By Demand

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print August 2002 | ISBN: 9780719062674
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781700273 | DOI:
Social routines and the consumption of food

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The existence of consumption routines is particularly significant for those interested in the diffusion of innovative consumer products. The implication is that existing routines need to be modified or broken for innovation to succeed. Product ranges are designed so that a hierarchy of products are offered to different social groups. Advertisements are also created and presented in a manner to make clear the social significance of consuming a certain good. The chapter defines a consumption routine as an executable capability for repeated consumption that has been learned or acquired by groups of consumers in response to social pressures or contexts. This notion of routine is taken from evolutionary economics, but is modified to take account of the sociology of consumption, in an explicit attempt to combine insights from both economic and sociological approaches. This chapter looks at the routine nature of food consumption and shows that both persistent social class and social mobility are significant determinants of changing routines, but operate in different ways for different foods.

Keywords: food consumption; consumption routines; innovation; consumers; evolutionary economics; sociology; social class; social mobility; foods; consumption

Chapter.  4933 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Political Economy

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