Gastronomic cosmopolitanism: Supermarket products in France and the United Kingdom

Rahsaan Maxwell, Michaela DeSoucey

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    In this article, we explore whether contemporary European cosmopolitanism is a deep or superficial trend. We do so by examining prepared meals in mainstream French and United Kingdom (UK) supermarket chains. First, we ask to what extent are foreign cultural influences present in these grocery outlets? Then, we explore which foreign cultural influences are present and, finally, how they are presented in this mainstream market setting. Our results are mixed. We find evidence of significant cultural diversity in the offerings of both French and UK supermarket chains. Supermarkets in both countries offer sizeable percentages of products from foreign countries in and outside of Europe. In addition, most of these products are presented without exoticization, suggesting a level of comfort and familiarity with the foreign gastronomic products among consumers, and a promising indicator of robust cosmopolitanism. However, the range of foreign gastronomic influences, in both countries, is both limited and stratified. We argue that this partially reflects standardizing logics and trends of globalizing consumer markets. This suggests that everyday cosmopolitanism may continue to develop in Western Europe, but will likely involve an uneven set of cultural influences.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)85-97
    Number of pages13
    StatePublished - Jun 1 2016


    • Cosmopolitanism
    • Cultural diversity
    • Cultural sociology
    • Europe
    • France
    • Gastronomy
    • Globalization
    • Immigration
    • UK

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Cultural Studies
    • Language and Linguistics
    • Communication
    • Sociology and Political Science
    • Linguistics and Language
    • Literature and Literary Theory


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