Perceptions of the authenticity of food.

Authors: Beer, S.

Conference: The Visitor Economy: Strategies and Innovations

Dates: 4-13 September 2017


In this paper I critically explore the relationship between authenticity, the individual, society and the food consumed within that society for a group of residents in Dorset in the United Kingdom. As such I focused on my participants’ perceptions of the authenticity of food as something a priori; as it was perceived before other considerations, in ordered to get a primary understanding of the subject.

I have positioned myself as a reflexive explorer / researcher who views the world from the position of interpretive constructionism derived from the ideas of postmodernism. I have utilized a qualitative research strategy; phenomenology and more specifically Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). This approach is underpinned by the philosophical work of Husserl, Heidegger, Gadamer, Levinas and Derrida. Data were collected using focus groups based around a meal. When I asked my focus group participants about their perspectives on the nature of the authenticity of food, they described understandings that were vested in four key areas: Family and friends; Saucing: cooking and flavour; Sourcing: where does it come from? and; Interaction with the distinctly other (people that were not friends and family). In my conclusions I describe how I found my participants’ perceptions of authentic food to be constructed in a place between them as individuals and the Other and changed over time. Perceptions of authenticity were fluid and playful.

Source: Manual