When Digital Devices Come Home for Dinner – Devising Food Consumption

Emma Samsioe, Christian Fuentes, Lund University, Sweden

Digital devices are increasingly intertwined with everyday life. Websites, web shops, social media, QR codes, smartphones, smart watches, and other digital artefacts are now incorporated into our ordinary consumption, replacing other entities and reconfiguring our practices. In the area of food consumption, digitalization has given way to a number of digital food platforms such as food box scheme, food sharing apps, and online food stores. These digital platforms are often presented as sustainable alternatives leading to the increased sales of ecological products (online stores), diminishing food waste (food sharing apps), or promoting healthy vegetarian lifestyles (food box schemes).

In this paper we want to explore if, how, and under what conditions digital food platforms are able to “disrupt” household’s food consumption and promote sustainability. Drawing on an ethnographic study of a food box scheme company, Årstiderna, which presents itself as promoting sustainable, healthy vegetarian food, and combining insights and concepts from practice theory and STS, we set out to explore what happens as these digital market devices enter the household.

Preliminary findings show that this digital food platform disrupts and reconfigures household’s food practices, taking over some of the tasks of food planning and food shopping, thereby decompressing time and creating pockets of time that can be used for cooking and eating. However, this “work transfer” comes at a price, as what is cooked, how and how it is enjoyed is now configured by the market device.