Me­dia cooks up a change in tastes

Tasmanian Country - - NEWS -

THE rise in pop­u­lar­ity of tele­vi­sion cook­ing shows is chang­ing our re­la­tion­ship with food, says a Uni­ver­sity of Tas­ma­nia lec­turer.

Me­dia and com­mu­ni­ca­tions ex­pert Michelle Phillipov’s re­search is ex­plor­ing how the me­dia is shap­ing con­sumers’ re­la­tion­ship with food and what this could mean for Tas­ma­nian pro­duc­ers.

Dr Phillipov has an­a­lysed the new pol­i­tics of food in her pa­per A “Labour of Love”? The GUID­ANCE: Uni­ver­sity of Tas­ma­nia se­nior jour­nal­ism lec­turer Michelle Phillipov, who has re­searched the new pol­i­tics of food. Pol­i­tics and Plea­sures of Niche Food Pro­duc­tion, which comes out of an Aus­tralian Re­search Coun­cil project.

She said there was a high con­cen­tra­tion of ar­ti­san food pro­duc­ers in Tas­ma­nia.

“The so­cial fab­ric of the island has also been in­flu­enced sig­nif­i­cantly by the strength of agriculture in the econ­omy,” she said.

Dr Phillipov said the in­ten­si­fied me­dia fo­cus on food had led to an exponential growth in the ar­ti­san food sec­tor, which was an es­ti­mated $5.5 bil­lion in­dus­try in Aus­tralia.

“In food me­dia, we are see­ing a re­peated set of images and ideas about what con­sti­tutes good food, what kind of food is de­sir­able and plea­sur­able, what kind of should be choos­ing.

“How­ever, we are see­ing farm­ers rep­re­sented in a nar­row view, where the hard work of farm­ing is min­imised. The hard­ships in­volved in farm­ing are widely known, for ex­am­ple farm­ers are leav­ing the land in greater num­bers than ever be­fore,” Dr Phillipov said.

“It is im­por­tant to have a con­ver­sa­tion about the pol­i­tics of our food sys­tem and how peo­ple can forge sus­tain­able ca­reers within that food sys­tem.”

The dis­tance be­tween pro­duc­ers and con­sumers, para­dox­i­cally, could be am­pli­fied by how farm­ers are rep­re­sented in the me­dia, she said.

“It may also pre­vent niche food we food pro­duc­ers from re­ally de­vel­op­ing an al­ter­na­tive not just in their pro­duc­tion prac­tices, but also in their me­dia and com­mu­ni­ca­tions strate­gies,” Dr Phillipov said.

She said the goal of the re­search was to pro­vide farm­ers and food pro­duc­ers with guid­ance on how to en­gage with dif­fer­ent me­dia plat­forms to pro­mote their busi­ness.

She said this in­cluded rec­om­men­da­tions on how to en­gage with the food tourism mar­ket and un­der­stand­ing con­sumer ex­pec­ta­tions at the far­m­gate.

Dr Phillipov has writ­ten two books and will be re­leas­ing a third one ti­tled Me­dia and Food In­dus­tries: The New Pol­i­tics of Food.

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