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Linfield – Can documentary food films like Food Inc. achieve their promise

Linfield, Laura. Can documentary food films like Food Inc. achieve their promise? Environmental Communication 4, no. 3 (September 2003): 378-386.

Keywords: food communication, food media, food films

Mediated narratives of food are important objects of analysis because they profide insight into food’s special power, the pleasure of consuming food via media, and commercialization of basic necessities.  In the past decades, we have seen an increase in the proliferation of food media. Hollywood films actually support the commodification of food in our society.  As documentaries began to rise in popularity, they actually have taken up the issues that the Hollywood films refused to cover and have taken a stance to disrupt the myths of the food system.

In the past five years, documentary food films have emerged that critique the mainstream foodways and the food system.  Their priority includes unraveling what lies behind our food consumption.

Linfield analyzes different films and the history of each film before she specifically analyzes the impact that Food Inc. has made on the food market.  Food Inc.’s statement on food has the potential to facilitate significant change, help raise awareness, and change behavior.  Food Inc. ends to privilege issues of people and future generations.

Food Inc.’s success shows that there is a great future for the documentary food film genre and that it can have an important role in communicating to audiences and facilitating action.  While documentary films alone cannot address the problems themselves, films like Food Inc. can be “part of a broader discourse on the environmental impacts of food by being part of this conversation.”

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