Background (completed research project)
The preferences of citizen consumers play a key role in the economic success and political legitimacy of decisions taken by players in the food supply chain and by the State. The aim of this project is to gain a better understanding of the conditions under which citizen consumers participate in decisions regarding sustainable food and the scope of their participation. The research will focus on the main themes of organic farming, carbon footprint, Swissness and local authority catering.
This project aims to analyse how citizen consumers affect sustainable food decisions made by the players in the food supply chain and by the State. It aims to establish who is involved in food governance, how and why, and to understand which players might be able to help make food systems more sustainable. Are the State, producers and businesses the only players to have a legitimate role in this matter? Scientific research based on the notion of governance suggests not, and that strong citizen and consumer involvement is essential in making appropriate and successful decisions about food systems. How can we encourage their involvement? This question concerns all endeavours related to either marketing or government action planning. The project seeks to understand how citizen consumers have participated – or not – in decisions regarding sustainable food production taken in the past 25 years in four major areas: organic farming, carbon footprint, Swissness and local authority catering.
The project aims to determine whether the conditions that would enable citizens and consumers to become more involved in sustainable food systems are met in Switzerland, and to analyse how they currently participate in decisions in order to propose ways to create these conditions. From a social perspective, this study aims to broaden citizen consumers’ participation in decisions about food. If the stakeholders envisage changes in the future requiring strong public support, it is essential that citizens help make and implement decisions. Knowledge of the institutional factors determining citizen consumers’ participation or non-participation in decisions (hence of potential bottlenecks) should encourage the State, producers and businesses to improve their practices in this area.
Access for citizen-consumers to decisions relating to the sustainability of food systems