02:04am Thursday 04 June 2020

Superfoodies needed for University of Adelaide study

The word ‘superfood’ was introduced to Australia in the late 1990s to describe food items that are naturally highly nutritious, including chia, maca, quinoa, kale, salmon, cranberry, coconut and broccoli. University of Adelaide School and History and Politics PhD student, Jessica Loyer, is for the first time researching how and why Australians consume superfoods.

“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,” Ms Loyer says.

“In my study I hope to identify what cultural changes drove this lifestyle change and find out what people really know about superfoods today.”

Ms Loyer says superfoods are often ‘displaced’ foods – 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 says.

“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.

If you are over 18, use superfoods, and are interested in participating in a focus group in Adelaide, please register at www.surveymonkey.com/s/P9MLR6B.

Contact Details

Jessica Loyer (email)
PhD Candidate in Food Studies
School of History and Politics
The University of Adelaide
Mobile: +61 431 811 323

Kate Bourne (email)
Media and Communications Officer
The University of Adelaide
Business: 08 8313 3173
Mobile: 0457 537 677

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