Food production, distribution and culture: public views, interests and concerns
A basic right of both a consumer and a citizen is the right to be heard, and their voiced concerns have to be taken into account when developing policies and obtaining trust for government actions. Therefore this study focuses on consumers’ interests, opinions and expectations which are identified and categorised according to subject area, degree of involvement and political agenda of a consumer. The paper draws on the responses of individual members of the public in the National Food Policy discussion initiated by the Scottish Government in 2008. Altogether 246 responses were subjected to quantitative analysis of texts, supported by text mining. A variety of interests and opinions underpinning the political agendas of individuals responding to the National Food Policy discussion document were identified and discussed in the paper in the context of political consumerism and influence citizens-consumers are likely to have on policy development and its subsequent implementation. In the broad perspective of the Scottish food supply chain, the three pillars of sustainability: economy, environment and society, are defining the nature of public concerns and expectations. Findings could be applied across many different policy areas including food production and distribution, heath education and promotion, support of small local businesses, environment protection, travel, waste management/recycling and others.
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