A University of Adelaide researcher is seeking so-called “superfoodies” to participate in a study about the changing cultural perceptions of diet and health on Australian food production and consumption.
Jessica Loyer, of the Adelaide School of History and Politics, is looking for avid consumers of foods that are naturally high in nutrition, including chia, maca, quinoa, kale, salmon, cranberry, coconut and broccoli.
“In the late 1990s, labels like ‘low fat’, ‘low carbohydrate’ and ‘superfood’ started to appear on food items in Australian supermarkets, and consumers appeared to become more conscious of the nutritional content of food,” Loyer said.
“In my study I hope to identify what cultural changes drove this lifestyle change and find out what people really know about superfoods today.”
Loyer says superfoods are often “displaced” foods—meaning they have travelled to new markets, but they’ve arrived without a sense of how to use them in cuisine—and her research will also involve tracing back their origins.
“In Mexico, chia seeds are commonly used to make a refreshing drink, while in Australia they appear more often as supplements and in bakery products,” she explained.
“Maca has become popular in Australia as a superfood that provides energy, balances hormones and acts as a libido stimulant. It’s primarily sold in powder or capsule form, but in the Peruvian high Andes it’s eaten as a whole root vegetable, either roasted fresh or dried for future use in a range of recipes.
“Knowledge of how to use these foods has to come from somewhere, so I’m also interested in how Australians learn about superfoods.”
The study will involve focus groups to explore Australians’ use and knowledge of superfoods and their values and practices relating to food and health.
To register, you must be 18, use superfoods, and are interested in participating in a focus group in Adelaide. Visit www.surveymonkey.com/s/P9MLR6B for more details.