Making a difference? Sustainable food innovation between alternative food networks and start-ups

Item Type Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Abstract The future of food is a topic that is controversially discussed in a wide range of sectors and settings, including academia, industry, government, international organisations, social movements, peasant organisations and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). In this paper I focus on yet another sector that contributes to debates on the future of food: food start-ups. I examine a growing number of sustainable food innovations that are currently developed by a vanguard of entrepreneurs, who aim to transform the way we produce and consume food. What is particularly interesting about these start-ups is how they present their products or services as market-based solutions to achieve a sustainable food future. In this respect food start-ups often display an ethos of social entrepreneurship. They employ entrepreneurial techniques to develop, fund and implement social and environmental issues crystallised in debates on food security. The aim of this paper is to explore this development based on a study of Swiss food start-ups engaged in sustainable food innovation. Drawing on interviews with founders and a textual analysis of company websites and other published material, I consider a) the products and promises in detail, b) their ‘novelty’ in comparison to alternative food networks’ efforts to achieve sustainable food futures (Counihan and Siniscalchi, 2014; Goodman et al., 2014; Grasseni, 2013) and c) how sustainability is enacted in each of the start-ups and their products. Ultimately, my paper contributes to important debates in food studies on the mainstreaming of alternative food.
Authors Schneider, Tanja
Projects Schneider, Dr. Tanja (2017) Venture food: A sociological study of venture capital, #foodtech innovation and the future of food [fundamental research project]
Language English
Subjects social sciences
HSG Classification contribution to scientific community
HSG Profile Area SHSS - Kulturen, Institutionen, Maerkte (KIM)
Date 30 August 2017
Event Title RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2017
Event Location Royal Geographic Society, London, UK
Event Dates 29 August - 1 September 2017
Official URL
Depositing User Prof. Ph.D Tanja Schneider
Date Deposited 08 Sep 2017 13:16
Last Modified 20 Jul 2022 17:31


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Schneider, Tanja: Making a difference? Sustainable food innovation between alternative food networks and start-ups. 2017. - RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2017. - Royal Geographic Society, London, UK.

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