IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/gam/jsusta/v4y2012i9p2146-2175d19997.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Empowering the Citizen-Consumer: Re-Regulating Consumer Information to Support the Transition to Sustainable and Health Promoting Food Systems in Canada

Author

Listed:
  • Rod MacRae

    () (Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University, 4700 Keele St., Toronto, ON M3J 1P3, Canada)

  • Michelle Szabo

    () (Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University, 4700 Keele St., Toronto, ON M3J 1P3, Canada)

  • Kalli Anderson

    () (Department of Liberal Studies, Humber College, 205 Humber College Boulevard, Toronto, ON M9W 5L7, Canada)

  • Fiona Louden

    () (Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University, 4700 Keele St., Toronto, ON M3J 1P3, Canada)

  • Sandi Trillo

    () (Graduate Program in Interdisciplinary Studies, York University, 4700 Keele St., Toronto, ON M3J 1P3, Canada)

Abstract

Both health and sustainability are stated public policy objectives in Canada, but food information rules and practices may not be optimal to support their achievement. In the absence of a stated consensus on the purposes of public information about food, the information provided is frequently determined by the marketers of product. No institution or agency has responsibility for determining the overall coherence of consumer food messages relative to these broader social goals of health and sustainability. Individual firms provide information that shows their products to best advantage, which may contradict what is provided about the product by another firm or government agency. Individual consumers do not have the resources to determine easily the completeness of any firm's messages, particularly in light of the size of food industry advertising budgets. Government rules confound this problem because there is also little coherence between the parts of government that have responsibility for point of purchase, advertising rules, and labelling. The healthy eating messages of health departments are often competing with contradictory messages permitted by the regulatory framework of other arms of government. Investments in programs that successfully promote environmental stewardship in agriculture are undercut in the market because consumers cannot support those efforts with their dollars. This problem exists despite the emergence of “citizen-consumers” who have a broader approach to food purchasing than individual maximization. Only recently have some health professionals and sustainable agriculture proponents turned their attention to these factors and designed interventions that take them into account. In this paper, which builds upon earlier work by MacRae [1], we outline key short, medium and long term initiatives to facilitate the citizen-consumer phenomenon and better support consumers in their efforts to promote health and sustainability in the Canadian food system.

Suggested Citation

  • Rod MacRae & Michelle Szabo & Kalli Anderson & Fiona Louden & Sandi Trillo, 2012. "Empowering the Citizen-Consumer: Re-Regulating Consumer Information to Support the Transition to Sustainable and Health Promoting Food Systems in Canada," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 4(9), pages 1-30, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:4:y:2012:i:9:p:2146-2175:d:19997
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/4/9/2146/pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: http://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/4/9/2146/
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Jack Kloppenburg & John Hendrickson & G. Stevenson, 1996. "Coming in to the foodshed," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer;The Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society (AFHVS), vol. 13(3), pages 33-42, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Anke Brons & Peter Oosterveer, 2017. "Making Sense of Sustainability: A Practice Theories Approach to Buying Food," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(3), pages 1-15, March.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    citizen-consumers; food information; health promotion; sustainable food systems;

    JEL classification:

    • Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics
    • Q0 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General
    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q3 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:4:y:2012:i:9:p:2146-2175:d:19997. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (XML Conversion Team). General contact details of provider: http://www.mdpi.com/ .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.