Promoting a healthier, younger you: The media marketing of anti-ageing superfoods

Casimir Hamilton MacGregor, Alan Robert Petersen, Christine Elizabeth Parker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

The growing availability of products labelled ‘superfoods’ has been a major marketing success story. While little scientific evidence supports the claims regarding the health-enhancing, age-defying benefits to be derived from the consumption of superfoods, marketers have been able to effectively promote these products for what they promise. This article explores the pedagogic role performed by media in marketing ‘superfoods’ in the contemporary context of food normlessness (‘gastro-anomy’). Using Foucault’s ideas on the workings of power and governance and drawing on data from an analysis of Australian media items on superfoods published between 1995 and 2014, the article reveals the techniques by which superfoods are promoted as the means for fashioning a healthier, younger self. It is argued that ‘superfoods’ is an ill-defined, ambiguous category, whose marketing is assisted through the confounding and confusing of news and advertising in media coverage, and the extensive use of promissory statements, scientific claims and personal forms of address that connect directly with audiences. We conclude by observing that while citizens may seek to live their lives according to the ideals of healthism, the media serves as a platform to promote neoliberal norms and values, such as consumer choice, accountability and the anxiety that goes along with them and that feeds the pursuit of ‘superfoods’.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Consumer Culture
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2018

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