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Appetite. 2014 Oct;81:37-43. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2014.06.004. Epub 2014 Jun 6.

Is eating science or common sense? Knowledge about "natural foods" among self-identified "natural food" consumers, vendors and producers in rural and urban Mexico.

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Department of Psychology, National Autonomous University of Mexico, Avenida Universidad 3004, Ciudad Universitaria, Coyoacán, CP 04510 Ciudad de México, Distrito Federal, México. Electronic address:
Peninsular Center for Humanities and Social Sciences, National Autonomous University of Mexico, Calle 43 s/n entre 44 y 46, Colonia Industrial, CP 97150 Mérida, Yucatán, México.



To explore the common sense knowledge that consumers, vendors and producers hold of "natural foods". The focus was on common knowledge because this is infrequently explored in social psychology where most studies focus on the implementation of scientific knowledge. The focus was on natural foods because the naturalness of foods seems to be one of the particular concerns that current consumers have about today's food market and because a specific natural food preference was observed in the contexts of study.


Fifty-seven informants in a rural context and 58 informants in an urban context participated in either a free association study or an interview study. Data content were analyzed.


In the urban context natural foods obtain their significance in the relationship between food and the self-concept; eating natural (or good) food is a task that requires effort and attitude, and foods obtain a moral value. In the rural context natural foods obtain their significance as an expression of a social and cultural system of interdependence that establishes practices and customs that have a long history in the community.


It is suggested that these common knowledge systems are related to practical challenges that are particular to the informants' context and that the structure of their common sense knowledge systems depend on the mediation of the flow of scientific knowledge and technological knowledge in each context.


Common sense knowledge; Food attitudes; Food choice; Natural foods; Social representations

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