See-V-Lab is being carried out within the context of Interreg Euregio Meuse-Rhine, with 798.860 euro from the European Regional Development Fund

Impact Strategy – Buying responsibly in the food sector

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Representing 15 to 25% of the population in 2020, acting consumers are a non-negligible and
increasingly important part of the current customer base. The “consum’actor” is a consumer who
emancipates himself from the products and lifestyles that the market designs for him, becomes
autonomous in his choices and could, therefore, contribute to the regulation of the consumer society.
This trend advocates a more responsible and ethical consumption which results in a new range of
products that are also ethical and responsible in today’s consumer offer. Particularly, many initiatives
have emerged in the food sector and many consumers have started raising their voice to boycott
supermarkets and eat more local food to protect their health and the Earth.
Unfortunately, these local and healthy products are often more expensive than those sold in
supermarkets. As a result, the acting consumer is generally a person from the middle or even upper
social class. So, what about people experiencing poverty? Are health and environmental cause only
concerning the middle or upper social class? Is there a real lack of interest among people experiencing
poverty ? Are prices the main reason for this potential lack of interest ? Aren’t there other barriers that
make it difficult for people experiencing poverty to have access to healthy food? If so, how do they
manifest themselves? Do solutions already exist and how effective are they?
Sadly, this problem not only concerns the consumer but also the farmers providing this local
and healthy food. The selling prices of their products are sometimes a way more expensive than what
people experiencing poverty can pay for. Is it a choice or is there an uneven supply from intensive and
conventional agriculture? Don’t they also face extreme poverty? What are the brakes and motivations
they face to produce such products?
These are all questions that need to be raised in order to understand the problem of access to
healthy and local food for people experiencing poverty.