The changing meaning of millets: Organic shops and distinctive consumption practices in Bengaluru, India

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Read full article by Mirka Erler et. al. Journal of Consumer Culture by request @ JournalsSage


The number of organic shops in Bengaluru has increased remarkably in the last few years, with millets being the main products drawing consumers. Yet, organic shops are only attracting middle-class consumers. We observed and interviewed 104 customers in five organic shops in Bengaluru to find out why this is the case. In this article, we follow practice theory to discuss the reported consumption patterns. We show that consumers, influenced by commercials and the advice of medical and nutritional professionals, legitimize their consumption of organic foods as an investment in their future health. We show that the customers of organic shops legitimize their consumption practice with affective engagements; thereby, performing symbolic boundaries that distinguish them from other social classes. This distinction manifests itself in the consumption of millets, which contributes to the change of the meaning of this food from a life-sustaining staple to a lifestyle superfood. In this article, we take a critical look at the role of organic retailers and how they reproduce class-based consumption practices in India.January 2020

Note that this is not an open access article: January 2020; Journal of Consumer Culture DOI: 10.1177/1469540520902508


Posted on

March 24, 2020

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