Quality in economics
A cognitive perspective
in Qualities of food

This chapter describes that food quality to be viewed in terms of emergent cognitive paradigms sustained within food product networks that encompass a wide range of social actors with a wide variety of intermediaries, professional and governmental. It explores economic theories of quality, and of the central dilemmas addressed by these, especially in relation to food quality. The diversification of food services and of food items in the marketplace rests on an increasingly complex circulation and mixing of ingredients. The chapter develops a different approach, arguing that a broader perspective is necessary to meet the challenge of heterogeneity and change to understand how shared cognitive integrations, embracing producers, intermediaries and consumers, is essential to the constitution of food quality. It describes the social process of qualification as a dynamic one, in which quality conflicts and quality hybridisation are central features of global food markets, provisioning and consumption.

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