Sustainable Food Consumption and Abstract Urban Lifestyles


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The lifestyles and food consumption patterns of India’s new urban middle classes are changing rapidly. Emerging trends such as the growing popularity of fast food and convenience food and the increasing consumption of animal products, sugar and fat are causing adverse environmental, health and social effects. In order to counter these trends, effective strategies for promoting sustainable food consumption patterns are urgently needed. This empirical case study combines a revised update of the study “The Market for Organic Food: Consumer Attitudes and Marketing Opportunities” (Osswald and Dittrich 2009) with a broader perspective on the socio-cultural contexts of sustainable food consumption. The study outlines how “sustainable food choices” can be defined in the Indian context, and examines spatial structures of the market for products from sustainable agriculture in the South Indian emerging megacity of Hyderabad. It explores socio-cultural contexts of sustainable food consumption, outlines target groups for marketing organic food and identifies obstacles to sustainable food consumption. The findings point to a moderate but growing demand for organic food, especially among the middle classes. Availability is limited and not able to satisfy the demand at this stage. Most consumers are motivated almost exclusively by health considerations; awareness of the links between environmental problems and food choices is low. Based on these findings, the report assesses the potential for future development of the organic segment as part of a sustainable urban food system, and develops recommendations for action in order to promote sustainable food consumption in Hyderabad.

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