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Article Type: Editorial From: Young Consumers, Volume 15, Issue 1
Welcome to the first issue of Young Consumers for 2014 and I hope 2014 is a good year for you wherever you are. All the papers you read here, with the exception of our regular contribution from GALA on regulatory frameworks from selected countries across the world were originally presented at a conference on Child and Teen Consumption 2012; Food Consumption, Communication, Life Styles and Fashion held at Libera Università di Lingue e Comunicazione, Milan, Italy in December 2012. Usually called CTC, these conferences have been held every two years starting with CTC2004 in Angoulême, France. These papers have been selected by our usual process of peer review and you can read more of them in issue 14(4) published last year.
I have chosen two studies as lead articles for this second Editors special issue on CTC2012.
de La Ville from CEPE IAE European Centre for Childrens Products at the University of Poitiers in France has provided us with a thoughtful and valuable set of insights on the child as stakeholder in the context of corporate social responsibility managerial perspectives. Children are significantly absent from discussions and the question then arises: If children have been overlooked by the stakeholder theory, how may the interests of youth be represented in a stakeholder perspective?
The other lead paper is empirical and is solidly rooted in sophisticated theory. Vanessa Haselhoff from the University of Applied Management Unna in Germany together with her colleagues, Ulya Faupel and Hartmut H. Holzmüller, were interested in family negotiation and strategies in supermarkets. Few studies have explored this subfield of family decision making in a prime consumption site (mall or supermarket) and the ethnographic research reported here provides some fascinating consumer insights. It is only with studies like this that research will advance beyond the clichés of "pester power" or the "nag factor"
There are several papers on food and food-related consumption by children and they are placed together below.
Roberta Giovine from IULM University in Milan was interested in investigating the food needs of a growing Muslim population in Italian kindergartens and primary schools so as to provide a basis for further quantitative research in that area. The research was interview based and she found that food and food prohibitions bear fundamental religious and identity-related implications for Muslims. This is discussed in the context of food consumption in Italy and halal provision.
Géraldine Comoretto from the University of Versailles Saint Quentin en Yvelines in France has taken an ethnographic approach to the trading of snacks in the playground of French schools. These social occasions gave rise to entire networks, strategies of exchange and sometimes even snack theft. Consequently the food exchanges act as an indicator of social relationships between the kids and can teach us a lot about childrens behaviour and socialisation.
Francesca Romana Puggelli and Mauro Bertolotti from the Catholic University of Milan did a content analysis on 62 food advertisements broadcast on the main Italian national TV channels, thus contributing to a growing and valuable literature on the subject. Healthy food products are marketed almost exclusively to adults, using adult-oriented advertising techniques, whereas unhealthy food advertisings rely on communicative formats and appeals more suited for children and adolescents.
Ulya Faupel from TU Dortmund University in Germany together with her colleagues, Vanessa Haselhoff, Miriam Ziesak and Hartmut H. Holzmüller, were interested in parents responses to the implementation of a quality label for childrens food. They conducted interviews with 15 parents from different socio-economic groups and quality, price, brand and childrens preferences rather than information about nutrition was their chief concern. However a more nuanced picture emerges as the Discussion part of this paper will demonstrate.
There are two more papers in this bumper edition of the journal that complete our coverage of CTC2012.
Mayumi Takahashi from the Norwegian Centre for Child Research explored mothers consumption, particularly how mothers of young children as primary caregivers are involved in contemporary consumer culture in Japan, by using the concepts of "caring consumption" and "ideological dilemmas". The analysis was based on depth interviews of 12 mothers of children younger than five years and she derived cultural meanings of motherhood in interaction with surrounding people and a wider consumption-oriented world.
Giuseppe Santisi, Silvia Platania and Zira Hichy from the University of Catania in Italy were able to identify the life styles of adolescents through the dimensions which were seen in their purchasing behaviour. The dimensions investigated included cognitive associations that adolescents attributed to known and established brands and the evaluative and emotional attitudes towards the brand. They used statistical analyses on established scales for these constructs with an Italian sample.
Finally we have our regular paper looking at regulatory aspects of advertising to children on a country by country basis. This quarter we look at Norway with a paper by Jenny Hovda and Bente Holmvang. As usual these are coordinated by GALA, the Global Advertising Lawyers Alliance and I am grateful to Stacy Bess from their New York office for all the help and assistance she provides with each issue.
I hope you enjoy these papers and many thanks to all our reviewers and contributors without whom these regular issues would not be possible.