In this study, the perceptions of high-tech CEA among local food consumers are evaluated. This is done through interviews to explore sense-making and connections to good food.
At this stage, relatively little research has explored actual consumer knowledge and attitudes related to CEA processes and products. Guided by theories of sense-making, this article draws from structured interviews with local food consumers in New York City to examine what people know and think about high-tech CEA.
From there, it explores the extent to which CEA fits into consumer conceptualizations of what makes for “good food.”
Key findings emphasize that significant gaps in public understanding of CEA remain, that CEA products’ success will depend on the ability of the industry to deliver on its environmental promises and that concerns about “unnatural” aspects of CEA will need to be allayed.
Given the price premium at which high-tech CEA products are currently sold, the industry’s expansion will depend in large part on its ability to convince value-oriented food consumers that the products meet the triple-bottom-line of economic, social, and environmental sustainability goals.
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