sociology of food

For this assignment you are to analyze examples of food advertising from the print media. As Deborah Lupton states, “Food products, as commodities, are marketed to differentiate them from their competitors. Advertisements and packaging seek to create an image around the food stuff into which consumers can fit themselves, and which is not necessarily related to its nutritional properties, its taste, or its form.” The industrial food business is heavily dependent on persuading consumers to purchase value-added (processed) products – you will rarely see ads for fresh, unprocessed produce, for instance – and contemporary American culture (desire to spend less time cooking, acceptance of processed foods) means that many people consume these products. It is your assignment to analyze the strategies that are used to sell this product.

Collect three current ads and address at least the following questions: What kind of product is advertised? Who is the intended audience? What are symbols, images and cultural messages used to persuade the consumer to purchase? Which assumptions are made by the advertisers about consumers, their lives and their values? Which claims and promises are made? In your analysis, pay special attention to important social statuses such as gender and social class. You may add others (race/ethnicity, education, religion, marital status, age, etc.) if they seem relevant, even though we have not discussed those in depth yet.

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