“Good” and “Bad” Foods

  • Monika J. A. Schröder


With all that has been said so far, is there any sense in categorising foods as either good foods or bad foods? Does not the mere fact that something is identified as a food, and that there is an established market for it, also make it a good food? The intense, public debate conducted in the UK throughout the 1980s and 1990s on what constitutes good and bad food supplied major impulses to write this book. To date, this debate has been characterised by strong antagonisms, and very little conflict resolution. One reason for this may be that underlying assumptions and frames are rarely explicit, and are often highly personal. One of the UK’s foremost protagonists and defenders of what he refers to as good food is the journalist Derek Cooper. His definition of good food is food that is “natural, pure, nourishing and, above all, full of taste and flavour” [140]. To Cooper, modern food technology, and the terminology associated with it, are baffling [140]. Traditional and home-made foods are best, with “home style” tolerated as an industrial substitute [140]. Cooper expresses concern about the intensive, mass production of foods, because he sees this as leading to food being deprived of its traditional cultural role in society, with farms functioning purely as production units, and animals as meat machines [141]. Henrietta Green, author of the Food Lovers’ Guide to Britain and organiser of a variety of “good food” events, worries about farmers, growers and processors who are willing to compromise their standards, e.g., by substituting cheaper alternatives, or by speeding up processes [142]. Common bad-food terminology includes junk food and, in the special case of genetically modified foods, Frankenstein food. From this perspective, the term “processed food” is almost always used with negative connotations, although traditional processes, however severe, are invariably seen as producing good foods. The industry perspective on the good-food-vs.-bad-food debate is typically one of frustration with the perceived stupidity of the non-technologist and non-scientist, who simply refuses to understand that there simply are no bad foods, only bad diets [143]. This argument appears not to apportion any role to the activities of food formulation, or marketing, in terms of the development of particular food consumption patterns among consumers, that may be detrimental to their health, to the environment, and so on.


Bulimia Nervosa Good Food Peanut Allergy Ethical Consumer Food Intolerance 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Monika J. A. Schröder
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Business and ArtsQueen Margaret University CollegeEdinburghUK

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