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Building Nature's MarketThe Business and Politics of Natural Foods$
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Laura J. Miller

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226501239

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226501406.001.0001

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Identifying the Audience for Natural Foods

(p.141) Chapter Six Style
Building Nature's Market

Laura J. Miller

University of Chicago Press

This chapter discusses cultural style as central to the mainstreaming of natural foods that took place in the late twentieth century. It discusses the 1960s and 1970s, when natural foods became more firmly connected to an environmentalist ethos, and when philosophies and culinary styles from East and South Asia were incorporated into the natural foods field. The counterculture of this era produced a large wave of young adherents and an influx of new businesses that repositioned the industry away from packaged health food and towards an emphasis on fresh natural foods. The chapter then discusses the 1980s, when natural foods stores developed an aesthetic that erased most markers of fringe groups while keeping the concept of nature at the forefront. These efforts helped create an association between natural foods and hedonistic consumer pleasures, and redefined the natural foods lifestyle as a preoccupation of elite social classes.

Keywords:   aesthetics, Asian influences, class, counterculture, environmentalism, hedonism, mainstreaming, style

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