Despite government claims that food is safer and more readily available today than ever before, recent survey evidence demonstrates high levels of food-related anxiety among Western consumers. While chronic hunger and malnutrition are relatively rare in the West, food scares relating to individual products, concerns about global food security and other expressions of consumer anxiety about food remain widespread.
Anxious Appetites explores the causes of these present-day anxieties. Looking at fears over provenance and regulation in a world of lengthening supply chains and greater concentration of corporate power, Peter Jackson investigates how anxieties about food circulate and how they act as a channel for broader social issues. Drawing on case studies such as the 2013 horsemeat scandal and fears about the contamination of infant formula in China in 2008, he examines how and why these concerns emerge. Comparing survey results with ethnographic observation of consumer practice, he explores the gap between official advice about food safety and people’s everyday experience of food, including a critique of ideological notions of ‘consumer choice’.