The Implication of the Emergence of the Gourmet Food Industry

Decent Essays

William Roseberry in this article studies the emergence of the gourmet food industry as an indicator of class, identity, and generation. He explores the historical context of the rise of the "new tastes" in coffee industry as a response to the early mass market standardization regime.
Examining the historical, sociological and anthropological aspects of changing the structure of marketing and consumption of coffee, he probes a broader range of implications in the social change. He focuses on the new patterns of consumption as retailors shrink the trade from mass to niche marketing, and that how these new patterns, which are formed by the power structure, has affected the labor and so the consumers. With an emphasis on political economy …show more content…

The vision of this movement was to make variety of flavors and types of coffee to appeal to every person, and to permeate every aspect of consumer's life. Therefore, the group of people that market feared to loose had drawn in the coffee chain more than ever. They learned to not to just drink coffee but to socialize over it, and to be identified over the certain brand or type of coffee they drink. As Kenneth Roman puts it, the whole coffee market revolves around individual tastes: "it's all about me"; however, Roseberry believes that this structure and connections within the coffee industry are carefully controlled by the market:

That is to say, my newfound freedom to choose and the taste and discrimination I cultivate, have been shaped by traders and marketers responding to a long-term decline in sales with a move toward market segmentation along class and generational lines ... This is not, of course, to say we enter the market as mere automatons; clearly, we have and exercise choices, and we (apparently) have more things to choose from than we once did. But we exercise those choices in a world of structured relationships, and part of what those relationships structure (or shape) is both the arena and the process of choice itself (1996: 771).

William Roseberry main point in this article is to explore the connection between the gourmet food movement, the "consumer fetishism" instilled with infinite choices, and the identity, class, and

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