Food bloggers: The role of immaterial labour in shaping cultural values around sustainable food consumption

This project explores the potential role of bloggers as influential figures who have the ability to contribute to market understandings, shape values and influence consumer behaviour around sustainable food consumption and production (SCP) practices.

Blogs are increasingly engaged with by a wide range of consumers, as both information sources and as forming part of leisure time. Consumers are showing a decline in reading traditional print media formats; instead, they are expressing a preference for the immediacy and convenience of online sources. Simultaneous to the rise of blogs, food as a genre in both new and established media formats is dominant and popular. Given the increasing public interest in food alongside growing concerns about food security and unsustainable food practices, blogs offer the potential to act as a significant source of influence.

Despite the increasing number of consumers engaging with blogs, there has been little academic attention paid to the people who are producing this content. Blogs have facilitated a way for non-professional producers to take part in cultural production through meditating messages, which in turn is shaping cultural values and tastes. As such, it is essential to consider these new producers' roles in more detail.

The study will examine the motivations behind amateur bloggers and the practices they enact in the creation of their blogs. It aims to establish how the immaterial labour of amateur bloggers contributes to the production of cultural values around SCP, and how bloggers legitimise their work and value production, given the lack of formal credentials or institutional authority to draw upon.