Food messages: who is responsible?

Food media. This term food media is essentially every type of media form that involves food. Food advertisements, cooking shows and magazines, food blogs, you name it. To become more media literate, I find myself asking what purposes do different food media have? Is the purpose to inform? Entertain? Maybe both?

Informative food media may only involve scientific research articles, such as this study based on how cooking shows on Food photo(8)network construct consumer fantasies. I would argue most scholarly articles have no intention to entertain, only to inform. Can you think of any other media type whose purpose is to solely inform? I can’t at the moment.

Now on the other hand, how many types of food media do you believe has a highest priority of entertainment? A good percentage of Food Network, like Iron Chef and Diner’s, Drive-In’s, and Dive’s have the sole purpose of entertainment. Websites like Food Gawker and Pintrest, who pride themselves on food photography and food porn may only have an entertainment purpose as well.

However, I find that most food media tends to blur the lines between entertainment and informational. This blog’s mission for example, is to uncover how the media portrays sustainability, as well as raise awareness about the benefits of sustainable eating and agriculture. I want my blog to be a source of information for my readers, but also be entertaining to read.

This video asks, does the entertainment food industry accurately tell stories of how food is grown and raised?

Who is responsible for food media messages and their outcomes? This video says food media does a great job of making food interesting and appealing, which in turn makes people think more about food and where it comes from. The challenge? How does the media do this in a way that is accurate?

“It is exciting, if we can remember to celebrate the people who helped produce that food.”

I would argue that both consumers and the media are responsible for the outcomes of food media messages. Food media must balance entertainment and education in a way that does not misinterpret where food comes from or who grows it. However, it is also up to consumers to understand advertisements, reality TV, and bias documentaries for what they are, and interpret those messages appropriately. Media literacy concepts play a role here in that understanding the audience the message is intended for, the purpose of the message, the author, and how that message was constructed are all very important when interpreting food media messages.

WP 3/22


2 thoughts on “Food messages: who is responsible?

  1. I think that many people don’t have this level of literacy, and I think that is the problem that our society has with food today. Consumer’s aren’t aware of what they’re eating or where it comes from. To develop this type of literacy I think you need to be able to critique mediated messages surrounding food you are exposed to as well as just asking yourself, ‘where did this food sitting in from of me come from?’ Simply thinking about the way you eat and consume is the first step to becoming aware.

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