Research Objectives


Drawing on science and technology studies, actor-network theory and theories of practice, the project seeks to understand how freshness is enacted at different points in the post-harvest supply chain and how it is practised and understood by different actors (including those involved in food manufacturing and processing, transportation and distribution, retailing and marketing) as well as among domestic consumers.  


Our specific objectives are:

  1. To describe and understand the (re)configuration of ‘freshness’ in agri-food systems since the emergence of the ‘cold chain’ in the UK and Portugal
  2. To understand how perceptions of freshness in domestic settings shape commercial practices (among food manufacturers, processors and retailers) and vice versa
  3. To examine how the meanings of freshness are combined and/or traded-off with other qualities of food (such as taste, locality, seasonality, cost and convenience)
  4. To understand the significance of freshness in contemporary agri-food systems and how it relates to notions of environmental sustainability, public health, food safety and waste.


We also aim to engage a wide range of ‘users’ in our research, including food industry representatives (manufacturers and retailers) and government officials associated with food safety and public health, waste reduction and environmental sustainability. 


Enacting Freshness in the UK & Portuguese Agri-food Sectors