How does food get to the table? Sustainable development leaders' framing of food processing in British Columbia
Hellbach, Debra Lynn
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Subjectfood processing; food systems; public relations; public trust; strategic framing; sustainable development
People need to eat. Because food is essential to well-being, food systems have become a vital component of sustainable development. With the role of converting farm and seafood harvests into the food that graces our tables, food processors are key food systems actors. In addition, food processors are major economic contributors and their operations have huge environmental impact. Despite being a major contributor to social, economic, and environmental well-being; the three main pillars of sustainable development, food processing has largely been excluded from the discourse. In order to understand how leaders in sustainable development think food gets to the table, this study sought to identify how they framed food processing. Frame analysis of the rhetoric and reasoning of sustainable development leaders revealed nine dominant frames that guide leaders thinking about food processing: The Modernization Frame; the Undermining of Foundations frame; the Frankenstein frame; the Cook and the Store frame; the Consumer Stance frame; the Personal Health as Good Individual Food Choices frame; the Fantasy Food System frame; the Silo, Not System Thinking frame; and the Invisible Link frame. These frames revealed negative perceptions and the invisibility of the BC food processing industry explaining its omission from discourse surrounding sustainable development. In addition to facilitating the identification of frames, an invitational rhetoric approach offered the opportunity to test reframes that provided new information about the food processing industry. The results of this unique study provide valuable insights as to how food processing should be reframed in future public relations strategies.
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