Health, food and socio-technical change

Research on this thematic area focuses on consumer practices and meanings in relation to health/wellbeing and eating as well as factors and developments affecting these practices and meanings.

Themes include micro studies of specific fields of health and social care and food consumption; analysis of food trends in various consumer groups and factors affecting them; media coverage and framing of food and health topics; the lay/expert–dynamics in contested issues related to health and/or food; the introduction and adoption of novel technologies; welfare service research and development; and the governance and politics of consumption. A major focus on the thematic area is the socio-technical change of the consumer society. Research addresses both historical developments affecting current consumer practices and attempts to change these practices in transitions towards better futures.

Studies on the thematic field utilize a wide array of approaches. They are based on Sociology of Consumption and Consumer Studies, Science and Technology Studies, Sociology of Health and Illness, Sociology of Food and Eating, Governmentality Studies, Marketing Research, and health and social policy analysis. Both qualitative and quantitative methods are used. The research material includes historical and contemporary documents and texts, interviews and group discussions, surveys and statistical data as well as social media data.


Current projects

• Green Wellbeing: Science, markets, and politics (2022-24)

Green wellbeing is an emerging movement that aims to make visible, practicable and economically useful the posited health effects of human interaction with nature and animals. Green wellbeing aims to give legitimacy to the preservation of nature, but is also associated with the commercial exploitation of characteristics associated with nature, such as recreation and silence. The project outlines the contours of this rising phenomenon and analyses through selected case studies how the beneficial effect of nature on dimensions of health and well-being is made visible, and how this emerging knowledge becomes institutionalised in policy and commercial contexts. The project is realised in the context of the Centre for the Social Study of Microbes (2022-26), a multidisciplinary research hub located at the Faculty of Social Sciences.

• The Rise of Lifestyle Health: Civilization disease, health care, and consumption (2021-2022)

Health and well-being are increasingly connected to individual lifestyles, and have become matters of personal experience and choice as well as objects of marketing and consumption in our advanced liberal societies. This book project looks at how personal habits and lifestyles have become problematized, operationalised, and commercialised as the primary site of health care and illness prevention. Using coronary heart disease (CHD) as the empirical focus, the book provides a historical outline of the way modification of personal habits, such as eating, exercising, and tobacco use, were defined as the key in preventing CHD, and consequently framed as matters of individual responsibility and personal choice, opening the way to their intense commercialisation.

• Everyday meat eating as multiple relations of care (2019-22)

Calls to care about the contentious aspects of meat eating abound: its detrimental effects on the environment, adverse health implications, and difficult ethical questions related to animal welfare and rights are all issues demanding attention. However, at the same time meat is also embedded in pleasures of eating, providing hospitality, and nourishing and pampering yourself as well as others. This project maps new ways of conceptualizing and understanding everyday food practices involving meat as they face pressures to be transformed in this contradictory current situation. With empirical data gathered from Finnish consumers, the project approaches everyday meat eating as relations that are intertwined with care, affective practices, and ethical issues.


Past projects

• RUOMU (Changing structures and competition issues in the Finnish food markets) 2016-2019.

In this project, CCSR investigates changes in food consumption and analyses ongoing developments in food and eating. By analysing the food consumption volume data in the Statistics Finland Household Budget Survey 2016 the project has looked at changes in food consumption from the 1990s to the present day. The focus is on food purchases in different types of households in 1998, 2006, 2012 and 2016. With a consumer survey (N=1000) the project examines three topical themes: consumers’ trust in and use of private label products by retail chains, consumption and acceptability of meat and vegetable proteins, and the conditions for insect eating from the consumers’ perspective.

• SSMA (Smarter Social Media Analytics) 2016-2018.

SSMA studies and develops methods to identify trends and phenomena related to food and eating using large social media datasets. The main data set is provided by Futusome Oy, and consists of one billion Finnish language messages from different social media services (2001-2016). Other data sets are the representative survey data collected by Taloustutkimus Oy (Suomi Syö 2007-2016) and the weekly purchase data on selected food product groups provided by S-Ryhmä (2012-2016). By cross-investigating these datasets using computational, quantitative and qualitative methods, SSMA identifies and analyses emerging food-related trends and phenomena.

• POPRASUS (Politics, practices and the transformative potential of sustainable diets) 2016-2020.

Promotion of pro-environmental behaviour has become a new normativity in food and environmental policies. Dietary change has a huge potential in combating environmental problems; too little social scientific attention has been devoted to steering diet from the sustainability view point. The POPRASUS addresses this gap in knowledge in various ways. At the CCSR, we focus on the practices and engagements of forerunner groups aspiring to sustainable food consumption (promoters of insect eating, members of REKO-food circles). The results contribute to the emerging scientific and societal debate on how sustainable diet is defined and what are its barriers in everyday consumption, among different consumer groups and in institutional settings.



Mikko Jauho, PhD, Adjunct Professor, University Researcher

Outi Koskinen, Doctoral student


Recent publications

Aalto K (2018) Elintarvikkeiden kulutus kotitalouksissa vuonna 2016 ja muutokset vuosista 2012, 2006 ja 1998. Faculty of Social Sciences - Publications; nro 2018:80. Helsinki: Helsingin yliopisto, Kuluttajatutkimuskeskus.

Ehrnström-Fuentes M, Jauho M & Jallinoja P (2019) Perceptions and experiences of sustainability among alternative food network REKO producers in Finland. Sosiologia 56:4, 401-421.

Jallinoja P, Jauho M & Pöyry E (2019) Miten Suomi söi 2008–2016? Erityisruokavaliot ja niiden taustatekijät. Yhteiskuntapolitiikka 84:2, 135-151.

Jauho M (2022) Terveyskansalaisuus ja terveyspalvelut. In: Missä mennään, SOTE-palvelut? Tutkijapuheenvuoroja sosiaali- ja terveyspalvelujen nykytilasta, tulevaisuudesta ja kuluttajapolitiikan keinoista. Helsinki: Kuluttajaliitto ja Kuluttajatutkimuskeskus, 12-24.

Jauho M (2022) Elevated cholesterol and the experience of risk: Beyond chronic illness and patienthood. Health, Risk & Society

Jauho M (2021) Becoming the North Karelia Project: The Shaping of an Iconic Community Health Intervention in Finland (1970–1977). Social History of Medicine 34:4, 1212-1235.

Jauho M (2020) From the local to the global, from the environment to the individual: Epidemiological knowledge production and changing notions of public health. Hakosalo H & Ruuskanen E (eds.) In Pursuit of Healthy Environments: Global Perspectives, 1400–2000, Abingdon & New York: Routledge, 195-217.

Jauho M (2020) Uudet ruoan hankinnan kanavat jakamistaloudessa. Mäenpää P, Timonen P & Söyrinki S (eds.) Kuluttajat ja kansalaiset jakamistaloudessa. Helsinki: Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, 103-131.

Jauho M (2019) Patients-in-waiting or chronically healthy individuals? People with elevated cholesterol talk about risk. Sociology of Health & Illness 41:5, 867-881.

Jauho M (2017) Contesting lifestyle risk and gendering coronary candidacy: lay epidemiology of heart disease in Finland in the 1970s. Sociology of Health & Illness 39:7, 1005-1018.

Jauho M (2016) The social construction of competence: Conceptions of science and expertise among proponents of the LCHF-diet in Finland. Public Understanding of Science 25:3, 332–345.

Jauho M & Meskus M (2017) Sairaus ja terveys tieteen- ja teknologiantutkimuksen näkökulmasta. Karvonen S, Kestilä L & Mäki-Opas T (eds.): Terveyssosiologian linjoja. Helsinki: Gaudeamus, 125-140.

Jauho M, Pääkkönen J, Isotalo V, Pöyry E & Laaksonen, S-M (2021) How do trendy diets emerge? An exploratory social media study on the low-carbohydrate diet in Finland. Food, Culture & Society

Niva M, Jallinoja P (2018) Taking a stand through food choices? Characteristics of political food consumption and consumers in Finland. Ecological Economics 154, 349–360.

Puhakka R, Haskins A H, Jauho M, Grönroos M & Sinkkonen A (2021) Factors affecting young adults’ willingness to try novel health-enhancing nature-based products. Journal of International Consumer Marketing 33:5, 595-612.

Pääkkönen J, Jauho M & Laaksonen S-M (2020) Expectations of automated future in social media analytics. Convergence 26:4, 790-807.

Santaoja M & Jauho M (2020) Institutional ambiguity and ontological politics in integrating sustainability into Finnish nutrition guidelines. Sustainability 12:13, 5330

Santaoja M & Jauho M (2019) Ruokapolitiikka etsii linjaansa – kestävän syömisen ohjeistus puuttuu. Versus 12.11.2019.

Santaoja M, Niva M (2018) Hyönteissyönnin etiikka, ekologia ja estetiikka. Niin & näin 25 (3), 77–87.

Sigfrids A & Jauho M (2020) Hoitosuositukset ja kolesterolihäiriöiden hoidon lääkkeellistyminen Suomessa 1986–2017. Sosiologia 57:4, 363-385.

Väliverronen E, Laaksonen S-M, Jauho M & Jallinoja P (2020) Liberalists and data-solutionists: Redefining expertise in Twitter debates on coronavirus in Finland. Journal of Communication