Alternative Food Systems and the Citizen-consumer


  • Matthias Lehner Lund University



Alternative Food Systems, Citizen-Consumer, Sustainable Consumption


Ethically informed and committed consumers are crucial to the functioning of many alternative food systems. These consumers are poorly understood, though, and their common description as informed and democratically minded finds little resemblance to the real world. Few individuals fit the ideal of the concept of the so-called citizen-consumer. This commentary therefore argues that both researchers and practitioners interested in the success of alternative food systems must rethink the concept of the citizen-consumer. By focusing on consumption contexts, cultural and social influences, and the impact of systems of provision on acts of ethical consumption, the nature of such acts will be better understood. This understanding will increase the chances for proliferation and longevity of consumption niches so crucial for market innovation.


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Author Biography

Matthias Lehner, Lund University

Matthias Lehner is a PhD candidate at the International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics (IIIEE), Lund University. He has an interdisciplinary background with a strong focus on sustainable agriculture, food systems, and marketing. For his PhD he studies the store-customer relationship in food retailing.



How to Cite

Lehner, M. (2013). Alternative Food Systems and the Citizen-consumer. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 3(4), 49–53.