Project Details


The interdisciplinary project (IRP) entitled ’Tradition and naturalness of animal products within a societal context of change’ is a thematic continuation of an earlier IRP of the Research Groups of Industrial Microbiology and Food Biotechnology and Social and Cultural Food Studies, entitled ‘Food quality, safety, and trust since 1950: societal controversy and biotechnological challenges’, in turn a follow-up of an earlier HOA project (Horizontale Onderzoeksactie) entitled ’Artisan quality of fermented foods: myth, reality, perceptions, and constructions’. The current project combines the expertise of food technologists (research group IMDO), communication scientists (research group MARK/BUSI) and food historians (research groups FOST and HOST). After looking previously into the technological and historical complexities of food artisanship as well as the related aspects of quality and safety, the proposed research now targets the concepts of “tradition” and “naturalness” of animal products in a dynamic setting of societal change. The research theme is of utmost importance not only from an academic point of view but also for society. Its societal relevance is reflected by the fact that food functions as the cement of societies, dominating our daily lives not only due to its physiological but also because of its semiotic value. In periods of major societal change, as we are currently experiencing with market globalization and fast-paced technological innovation, it acts as a focal point for identity search and value creation. The proposed IRP will deal with the specific category of animal products, posing several societal challenges (e.g., issues of sustainability and ethical production and processing) and carrying several layers of meaning (e.g., taboos and ceremonial customs). Also, the meat production chain has been subjected to intense transformations during the past three centuries, including heavy industrialization, lengthening and specialization of the production chain, and concealing of the upsetting act of animal killing in slaughterhouses. Finally, the symptomatic concepts of 'tradition', 'origin', and 'naturalness', which will be central to this IRP, are of paramount significance for this food category.
Effective start/end date1/01/1831/12/24


  • naturalness of animal products

Flemish discipline codes in use since 2023

  • Food microbiology


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