Evolution of the perception of processed foods in France since the 1950s - Université Toulouse - Jean Jaurès Access content directly
Conference Papers Year : 2022

Evolution of the perception of processed foods in France since the 1950s


In today's society, food processing seems to be in the center of many concerns. "Processed" foods, and in particular foods described as "industrial", are at the heart of many discussions. Debates take place as well in the general public media, the governmental authorities, as in the scientific community. Criticism of industrialization can be seen as a political, ethical or moral reaction (Lepiller, 2012), but also as the result of anxiety, disgust or even anger. A study on food-related concerns, conducted by Crédoc, Ocha and the University of Toulouse 2 Jean Jaurès, highlights an increase in food-related anxiety since the end of the 20th century. In particular, "industrial" foods are said to be a source of anxiety for 87% of the French population. The conclusions of sociologists on distrust and anxiety invite us to question the sociocultural construction of these concerns. How has this distrust of "industrial" food processing been constructed through time? We propose to question the relationship with processed from a socio-historical perspective. How did the perception of processed foods evolve since the post-war period? How did food processing gradually become a sensitive issue in the French society? And what do the discourses about it reveal about the evolution of our society? For a few years, the term "ultra-processed food" in particular has been at the forefront of the international and national scenes. This concept was first proposed by researchers in nutrition in Brasil, and was then quickly disseminated by the media, taken up by politicians, and recently mentioned in public health programs. It seems to concentrate a certain form of criticism towards the industrialization of food. What is the success story of this term? How can we explain its rapid and international diffusion? What is at stake and how can we analyze the controversy surrounding it?
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hal-03768883 , version 1 (05-09-2022)


  • HAL Id : hal-03768883 , version 1


Thiron Sophie. Evolution of the perception of processed foods in France since the 1950s. IEHCA Summer University, IEHCA (Institut Européen d'Histoire et des Cultures de l'Alimentation), Aug 2022, Tours, France. ⟨hal-03768883⟩
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