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Appetite. 2015 Aug;91:321-8. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2015.04.066. Epub 2015 Apr 28.

A taste of ethical consumption at a slow food festival.

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Menzies Health Institute of Queensland, Griffith University, Building G40 Gold Coast Campus, Southport, Queensland, 4222, Australia. Electronic address:
Faculty of Education and Arts, The University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW 2308, Australia.
School of Humanities and Social Science, The University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW 2308, Australia.


This paper examines the motives and experiences of attendees at a Slow Food festival to gain an understanding of how people engage with ethical consumer projects. Slow Food is a global social movement aimed at promoting food that is regionally, ethically, and sustainably produced, and convivially consumed. The movement uses culinary tourist events, such as food festivals and farmers' markets, to promote its philosophy and attract new members. There have been no empirical studies of ethical consumption using a Slow Food event as a case study. This study uses an ethnographic approach and a framework of virtue ethics to explore the views of people attending a major Slow Food festival in the city of Melbourne, Australia. Semi-structured interviews were conducted in situ with 33 participants (19 consumers and 14 stallholders) to discover their rationales for attending the festival, and their perspectives on ethical consumption. Transcripts were coded and thematically analysed, resulting in three themes reflecting varying degrees of public virtues (altruistic motivations) and private virtues (personal wellbeing): the quest for virtuous lifestyles through ethical consumption, the importance of co-production, and the challenges of putting ethical consumer projects like Slow Food into daily practice. The findings reveal the manner in which virtue ethics affects foodways and highlights the contingent and challenging nature of practising ethical eating.


Alternative food networks; Culinary tourism; Food habits; Foodways; Slow food; Virtue ethics

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