Category Archives: alcohol

What’s Cooking, September 2022

What’s Cooking is an update on all things related to CHEFS: the Culture, Health, Environment, Food and Society research cluster at Sheffield Hallam University. What’s been cooking since our last edition?

Check out our most recent research blog post, in which Jo Pearce offers her reflections on a PhD by published work. Jo also gives us a whistle stop tour of her research on how the promotion of healthy eating habits and dietary guidelines can impact on the health outcomes of women and children.

The next instalment of our online research talk series is coming up in October: ‘Children’s Food, Feeding and Inequalities’ will feature research presentations from Irmak Karademir Hazir and Filippo Oncini. The date will be confirmed shortly, with information distributed via the JISC list and our Twitter account (be sure to follow us: @SHU_CHEFS). Meanwhile, details (including full abstracts and the Zoom joining link) are available on our Online Research Talks page. The online talks are open to all, both local and global, students and staff, practitioners and public. Please feel free to share with your networks—all welcome!

After a summer break, our virtual research roundtables are back! The roundtables are an informal chance to check in, share updates, trade suggestions, ask questions and bounce ideas around. No prep needed—just a chance to meet up and talk CHEFS for an hour:

  • Friday 16 September, 3.30-4.30pm
  • Thursday 17 November, 4-5pm
  • Wednesday 14 December, 4-5pm

Research roundtable meeting invites (with Zoom link and meeting password) will be sent out shortly via the CHEFS JISC list. Not joined the JISC list yet? See information on the very bottom of each CHEFS webpage. In the meantime, please email me directly ( if you’d like me to forward a meeting invite.

Below, we have:

  • updates on recent CHEFS members’ activities (including a recent publication on baby-led weaning, research on household food waste in collaboration with Sheffield City Council—with a call for participants!, and reflections on the recent Nutrition Society Summer Conference);
  • resources/calls for papers/conference announcements (various calls for papers in relation to food/drink and sustainability, craft, time, communication);
  • the usual call for contributions and content for the November 2022 edition of What’s Cooking.



Recent CHEFS Activities

Jo Pearce and Rachel Rundle have had their latest paper on baby-led weaning (BLW) published in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics. In ‘Baby-led weaning: A thematic analysis of comments made by parents using online parenting forums,’ they report on an interpretive thematic analysis of messages and responses posted on three UK parenting forums, relating to complementary feeding. The analysis found that the characterisation of BLW by parents was varied but they described BLW having an ethos which included trusting the baby, role modelling, developing confidence with food and sharing the social aspects of mealtimes. BLW also offered an alternative to those actively seeking something different or a default for those whose baby refused purees or spoon feeding. BLW felt like a natural progression, with low parental effort for some, and a source of anxiety, stress, choking risk and mess for others. Many parents struggled to find a process (what to eat and when) within BLW, that they could follow. Finger foods were used synonymously with BLW but many mixed/blurred aspects of both TW and BLW. The authors conclude that the interpretation of BLW varies considerably between parents and a broader definition of BLW may be required, along with guidance on the process and purpose of BLW. 

Dianne Dean, Pallavi Singh, Scott Jones, and Nikita-Marie Bridgeman, all from Sheffield Business School, are working with Sheffield City Council to examine household food waste. Flats and households in four trial areas in Sheffield have been selected by Sheffield City Council to take part in a weekly food waste recycling trail, taking place over the next three months. If you live in a trial area (Woodseats/Meersbrook/Norton Lees/Chapeltown/Ecclesfield/Burncross/ Arbourthorne/Gleadless Valley/Darnall) you may have been given a food caddy to collect food waste in, roll of liners for the caddy and an outside food waste bin. The research team are seeking participants that live in one of the four trial areas and are taking part in the Sheffield City Council food waste trial scheme. The research team are interested in better understanding the process of food disposal in the household and data will be collected by means of diaries and semi-structured interviews. If you are in the Sheffield City Council food waste trial scheme, and would like to participate in the research project, please email Professor Dianne Dean ( or Dr Pallavi Singh (

Jenny Paxman reflected on the Nutrition Society Summer Conference, which took place in July in Sheffield, with a focus on ‘Food and Nutrition: Pathways to a Sustainable Future.’ The Scientific Programme Organisers comprised Jenny and Lucie Nield from Sheffield Hallam University, and Liz Williams and Samantha Caton from the University of Sheffield, and the conference was a collaborative endeavour with teams from Sheffield Hallam University, The University of Sheffield and Sheffield City Council working together throughout. Delegates were effusive in their praise of everything from the main venue at SHU, to the social activities and of course the scientific programme! We welcomed speakers from all over the world, and it was wonderful to reconnect with colleagues and collaborators.

Jennifer Smith Maguire was interviewed by WineLand Magazine (which targets South African wine industry stakeholders) about her collaborative research on wine farmworker heritage stories; the article is due out in this month’s ‘heritage’ issue. Jen will also be presenting ‘Vina aperta and the quest for interconnectedness’ as a keynote at the online symposium ‘Towards an Eliasian Understanding of Food in the 21st Century’, organised by the University of Huddersfield on 7 September. Drawing on the work of Norbert Elias, the talk considers what we might learn about wine, and food more generally, by contrasting the concepts of vinum clausum (a view of wine as a static object, the consumption of which is reducible to discrete variables) and vina aperta (a view of wine as a processual ‘thing,’ the accomplishment of which is fundamentally bound up with the problems of humans’ interdependence with the natural world, others, and with themselves). The paper suggests that foregrounding the processual, interdependent character of wine provides valuable insights into what drives some producers and consumers to pursue alternative market relations that quench a thirst for interconnectedness, while offering potential routes toward more sustainable production and consumption.


Resources/call for papers/conference announcements

Call for papers: special issue on Food and Sustainability. Deadline 30 September.
The journal Sustainability (impact factor: 3.251) will feature a special issue on the topic of ‘Food and Sustainability’. This Special Issue will focus broadly on how the food and drink industry can meet the challenge of embedding sustainability into its business strategies and operations as well as nudging consumers towards making more sustainable food choices. Many food businesses today are under pressure to demonstrate how their products and services are making a positive contribution towards society. However, one of the biggest challenges for businesses is progressing sustainability initiatives from an added benefit view to an integrated, value-driven to business approach. Deadline for submission is 30 September 2022. Full details here.

Call for papers: XX ISA World Congress of Sociology- Economic Sociology of Craftsmanship. Deadline 30 September.
Andrey Sgorla is coordinating a session on the Economic Sociology of Craftsmanship at the XX ISA World Congress of Sociology. This will be presented in English and Spanish and will take place from June 25th- July 1st 2023 in Melbourne, Australia.  The deadline for authors to submit their abstracts is September 30th 2022 at 24:00 GMT. More information available at Session: Economic Sociology of Craftsmanship (XX ISA World Congress of Sociology (June 25-July 1, 2023)) ( Any questions about the session or call for papers can be sent to Andrey at

Call for chapters: time and alcohol. Deadline 4 November.
‘It’s Five O’clock Somewhere’: Time, Alcohol, and Other Beverages. Dr Peter Howland is looking for 10-12 chapters which critically explore the history and/or ethnographies of time and the role that it plays in the production, exchange and consumption of drinks and beverages (of any form) to be included in an edited volume. All disciplinary perspectives are welcome and it is hoped that this publication will be included in Routledge’s Critical Beverage Studies series. If you would like to apply to be included in this proposal, please email your name, institutional details, a proposed paper title and an abstract (200-500 words) to The deadline for applications is 4th November 2022.

Call for papers: Third International Conference on Food and Communication. Deadline TBC (details due in September).
The third conference on Food and Communication brings together researchers who work on the intersection of food and communication. The next one will be held in Örebro, Sweden, 13 – 15th September 2023 and the call for papers will be announced soon in September 2022. More information available at:  Food & Communication Conference – Food & Communication Conference ( and you can see some of the previous conference events on Twitter via the hashtag #foodcommunicationconf


Call for content for the next edition of What’s Cooking
The next edition of What’s Cooking will be November 2022. Please send content (research updates, calls for expression of interest, relevant calls for papers/conference/event announcements) to by 31 October.

CHEFS blog
Interested in writing a blog post? These are usually 800-1200 words and written for a general audience in an informal style. Blogs can revisit work you’ve already done (e.g., highlighting a recent output/publication); discuss research or research-related activities (teaching, public engagement, etc.) that you are working on; offer your informed take on contemporary food/drink issues or policy; provide a profile on your research. If you’d like to contribute a piece, please get in touch with Jen (

Want to stay updated? Follow us on Twitter (@SHU_CHEFS), subscribe to the blog and/or join our Jisc email list: see information on the very bottom of each CHEFS webpage.



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Filed under alcohol, Diet and health, food practices, food waste, research, surplus waste & excess food in society, sustainability

What’s Cooking, May 2022

What’s Cooking is an update on all things related to CHEFS: the Culture, Health, Environment, Food and Society research cluster at Sheffield Hallam University. What’s been cooking since our last edition?

Sheffield Business School is currently advertising several GTA PhD scholarship opportunities in Hospitality, Tourism, Events and Food & Nutrition (full details on the FindAPhD page, and on the SHU website), and one of the projects is aligned with CHEFS: ‘Food events, ‘sustainability imaginaries’ and shaping consumer perceptions and behaviour,’ working with potential supervisor team of Jennifer Smith Maguire, Mark Norman and Caroline Westwood. We are keen to attract a strong pool of applicants: please can you share widely with your networks? The application deadline is approaching fast: 18 May, noon. More details below.

The latest instalment of our online research talk series was March 23rd, with ‘paired papers’ focused on pubs, alcohol and the pandemic. Joanna Reynolds shared her analysis of how the media’s representations of restrictions on pubs and bars changed over the course of 2020, and Pallavi Singh shared insights from collaborative research on pubs’ and brewers’ changing responses to value creation over 2020. A recording of the session is available on our ‘past talks’ webpage.

Join us for the next session on ‘Craft, Kinship and Colonialism’ on 30 June, 3-4.30, featuring talks from Thomas Thurnell-Read on biography, kinship and craft gin, and from Belinda Zakrzewska on authenticity, coloniality and Peruvian cuisine. Full details (including full abstracts and the Zoom joining link) are available on our Online Research Talks page. The online talks are open to all, both local and global, students and staff, practitioners and public. Please feel free to share with your networks—all welcome!

Below, we have:

  • updates on recent CHEFS members’ activities (including a new study on alcohol provision and the experience of public space, and a call for participants in a study about wine gifting);
  • resources/calls for papers/conference announcements (details of the CHEFS GTA post with a link to further info and application instructions);
  • the usual call for contributions and content for the July 2022 edition of What’s Cooking.



Recent CHEFS Activities

Joanna Reynolds will be starting a new, two-year study to examine the role of alcohol provision in changing public spaces, with a focus on different areas of Sheffield. The study, funded through the BA / Leverhulme small grants programme, will explore how alcohol provision affects people’s experiences of public spaces, in the context of changing local areas, and the ‘Build Back Better’ agenda, post-COVID. Please get in touch with Jo ( to find out more information about the study.

John Dunning and student researcher Rachel Robinson have been carrying out semi-structured interviews on wine gifting and cultural values. They are keen to recruit further British and Chinese consumers of varying levels of wine involvement. Interested in taking part? You do not have to be a wine expert, or have any particular wine knowledge, to take part and there are no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answers in the research; we are interested in your experiences and opinions! Involvement in the study is voluntary. If you are interested in taking part in an interview (conducted via Zoom), or if you’d like to know more about the research, please contact John ( Equally: please feel free to pass on this recruitment request to others. Thank you!


Resources/call for papers/conference announcements

Graduate Teaching Assistant PhD Scholarship opportunity. Deadline: 18 May, noon.

Food events, ‘sustainability imaginaries’ and shaping consumer perceptions and behaviour

This project aims to improve the sustainability of regional food systems through the platform of food events (e.g. food festivals, farmers markets, agricultural shows), focusing on Yorkshire/Northern England. It explores the construction of food sustainability ‘imaginaries’ (Taylor 2004): normative conventions and expectations as to what constitutes sustainable food systems, and how people imagine everyday life (e.g., eating, purchasing, choosing, growing), and their roles, identities and relations to others in a sustainable food system.

Building on previous examinations of food events as drivers of sustainability (Lin & Bestor 2020; Organ et al 2015; Star, Rolfe & Brown 2020; Williams et al 2015), the research will:

(1) generate a comprehensive account of how ‘food sustainability imaginaries’ are constructed through a food event’s experiential, material and communicative dimensions;
(2) devise and evaluate a food event-based intervention through which to enhance consumers’ practices and behaviours in relation to the environmental, socio-cultural and economic sustainability of food.

Potential supervisory team: Jennifer Smith Maguire, Mark Norman, Caroline Westwood.

Deadline for submissions 18 May, noon.

Further project details available on our CHEFS blog page. To discuss the project, please contact Professor Jennifer Smith Maguire (


Call for content for the next edition of What’s Cooking

The next edition of What’s Cooking will be July 2022. Please send content (research updates, calls for expression of interest, relevant calls for papers/conference/event announcements) to by 29 June.

CHEFS blog

Interested in writing a blog post? These are usually 800-1200 words and written for a general audience in an informal style. Blogs can revisit work you’ve already done (e.g., highlighting a recent output/publication); discuss research or research-related activities (teaching, public engagement, etc.) that you are working on; offer your informed take on contemporary food/drink issues or policy; provide a profile on your research. If you’d like to contribute a piece, please get in touch with Jen (


Want to stay updated? Follow us on Twitter (@SHU_CHEFS), subscribe to the blog and/or join our Jisc email list: see information on the very bottom of each CHEFS webpage.


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What’s Cooking, March 2021

 What’s Cooking, March 2021

What’s Cooking is an update on all things related to CHEFS: the Culture, Health, Environment, Food and Society research cluster at Sheffield Hallam University. What’s been cooking since our last edition?

Below, we have:

  • updates on recent CHEFS activities (including developments in working with the Wine and Spirit Education Trust; a research output on Chinese wine gifting; new research on lifestyle interventions for women with infertility, and community engagement in alcohol licensing; the 2022 Nutrition Society conference; and a Horizon 2020 bid on food waste and vulnerable consumers);
  • resources/calls for papers/conference announcements (including a fully funded PhD on food insecurity; online events on drug history and harmful drinking; an archival resource of cookbooks), and the usual call for content for the May 2021 edition of What’s Cooking.

Finally: a reminder of the upcoming monthly virtual research roundtables: an informal chance to check in, share updates, trade suggestions, ask questions and bounce ideas around. No prep needed—just a chance to meet up and talk CHEFS for an hour:

  • Wednesday 17 March, 4-5pm
  • Wednesday 14 April, 2-3pm
  • Wednesday 12 May, 3-4pm
  • Wednesday 16 June, 4-5pm

Meeting invites (with Zoom link and meeting password) have been sent out via the CHEFS JISC list. Not joined the JISC list yet? See information on the very bottom of each CHEFS webpage. In the meantime, please email me directly ( if you’d like me to forward a meeting invite.

Happy reading!

Cheers, Jen


Recent CHEFS Activities

John Dunning is leading an application for the Department of Service Sector Management of Sheffield Hallam University to become a Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Approved Programme Provider (APP). This will mean that we will be able to run a range of WSET wine courses, which will provide great opportunities to widen wine study and research for our students, CHEFS members, DSSM colleagues and other interested parties. Further updates to come as this exciting development progresses. For more information or general enquiries, please contact Dr John Dunning, DipWSET, FWS:

Jennifer Smith Maguire and John Dunning completed the first output from their research on Chinese wine gifting practices, which will appear as a chapter in the forthcoming Routledge collection, Wine and The Gift: From Production to Consumption. Wine is increasingly popular in China, but familiarity with and knowledge of wine remain relatively low. Gifting plays an integral role in the expression of Chinese cultural values, as a process through which respect is demonstrated and social ties and mutual obligations are fostered. However, how does that process unfold when knowledge of the intended honorific meaning of the gift cannot be taken for granted? Semi-standardized interviews, complemented by photo elicitation activities, were conducted with a small sample of Chinese consumers of varying ages and levels of wine involvement. The analysis highlights the contingent and laborious accomplishment of gifting: a well-chosen gift involves a series of adjustments made by the gift-giver, to ensure the gift is calibrated to reflect the giver-recipient relationship, and aligned to the recipient’s capacity to appreciate the gift. In adopting a sociological perspective on gifting as consumption, the chapter contributes novel qualitative insights to existing knowledge of wine-related Chinese consumer behaviour.

Lucie Nield is working with the Fit 4 Baby Research Group based in Teesside and coordinated by Tees Valley Sport. The aim of the research is to develop a co-designed lifestyle intervention for women with infertility. The work encompasses a systematic review, focus groups and interviews with services users and specialists in the field of fertility to look at the existing evidence base and what an ideal intervention would look like. She is involved in the systematic review and on the steering group. A co-designed intervention will then be developed, piloted and evaluated with further review undertaken. A second ‘tweaked’ intervention will then be piloted. The project is funded by Sport England and the systematic review should be complete by early Spring.

Joanna Reynolds has a new PhD student, Filip Djordjevic, starting in March as part of the La Trobe University – Sheffield Hallam University collaboration. Based primarily at La Trobe in Melbourne, but with co-supervision from Jo Reynolds and Paul Hickman (SHU, Department of Psychology, Sociology & Politics), Filip will be conducting research into processes and impacts of community engagement in alcohol licensing decisions in Australia and the UK. He will be exploring several case studies in each country, with particular attention on understanding impacts of engagement for disadvantaged groups. If you would like to know more, or know of any examples of communities influencing alcohol licensing, please contact Jo Reynolds:

Jenny Paxman has been involved in a successful bid to host the 2022 annual Nutrition Society Summer Meeting in Sheffield (12-15 July, 2022). The competitive bid to host 400 delegates in the city across the four day conference was put together by Marketing Sheffield’s Conference Team, Sheffield Hallam University (SHU) and the University of Sheffield (UoS). The team in Sheffield brings together local expertise around the theme of food and nutrition and internationally renowned speakers with a view to exploring the pathway to a sustainable food future, looking at areas such as building ethical food systems, eroding nutritional inequalities and sustaining an ageing population. From Sheffield Hallam the conference team is led by Jenny Paxman, Subject Group Leader for Food and Nutrition at SHU, with support from Lucie Nield joined by colleagues from the University of Sheffield, Dr Liz Williams from The Human Nutrition Unit and Dr Sam Caton from The Institute for Sustainable Food.

Dianne Dean has been involved in a Horizon 2020 project bid: ‘A Systemic Approach to Reducing Waste and Producing Food with Improved Accessibility, Welfare, Affordability, and Sustainability that is Transformational and Engaging’ (AWAYSTE). Di, along with Pallavi Singh, Michael Benson and John Kirkby, are responsible for work package 1, which aims to build a deeper understanding of vulnerable consumer’s relationship with food. The research will focus on providing insight into how vulnerable consumers purchase food, what type of food they consume, what is the choice criteria, how they manage their food waste, if/how they recycle and understand their acceptance of novel food and sustainable packaging. This information will help guide other work packages in the project to co-create sustainable food products using new technologies that has the vulnerable consumer in mind.


Resources/call for papers/conference announcements

Funded PhD studentship on food insecurity; deadline 12th March

Opportunity to apply for a fully funded ESRC CASE PhD studentship, to a suitably qualified candidate, working in the field of food insecurity. Based at the University of Liverpool, working in collaboration with a local social enterprise, Can Cook, we aim to critically evaluate food charity, taking into account diet, food choice, and psychological wellbeing and will look at the optimum process to support food security at the scale of community and household. Further particulars about the studentship can be obtained from either Alan Southern or Charlotte Hardman at the University of Liverpool. Details of how to apply can be found on the University of Liverpool web pages here. The deadline for applications is March 12th.

Zoom roundtable on drug history, 9th March

The Alcohol and Drug Historical Society are hosting a round table on ‘The Past, Present, and Future of Drug History’. The event is free and open to the public. Tuesday, March 9, 2021, 5-7PM (Eastern Standard Time—note the North American time zone!). Registration is required: register here. Participants:

  • Paul Gootenberg, Stony Brook University, “The Globalization of Drug History, 1990-2020”
  • Miriam Kingsberg Kadia, University of Colorado Boulder, “The Historiography of Drugs in East Asia”
  • Emily Dufton, George Washington University, “Still Searching for the Holy Grail: The Long History of Medication Assisted Treatment in the US”
  • Lucas Richert, University of Wisconsin, Madison, “The Intersection of Drug History and Pharmacy History”

DARC research seminar on harmful drinking, 17th March

Drug and Alcohol Research Centre seminar by James Morris on ‘Why harmful drinkers reject change: coping and cognition in maintaining heavy drinking’ on 17th March. Details and registration here.

Digital cookbook archive

The Internet Archive is a non-profit library of millions of free books, movies, software, music, websites, and more. It’s Cookbooks and Home Economics Collection has over 10,000 vintage recipe books available for free in digital form (a useful overview introducing the collection is here).


Call for content for the next edition of What’s Cooking

The next edition of What’s Cooking will be May 2021. Please send content (research updates, calls for expression of interest, relevant calls for papers/conference/event announcements) to by Thursday 29 April.

Want to stay updated? Follow us on Twitter (@SHU_CHEFS), subscribe to the blog and/or join our Jisc email list: see information on the very bottom of each CHEFS webpage.

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Filed under alcohol, Diet and health, inequalities & social justice, research, sustainability, What's Cooking?, wine

Energy drinks, caffeine and young adults

The puzzle:

There has been considerable recent interest in the impact of energy drinks on teenagers and young adults (BBC News 2018a, 2018b, 2019), and there is a statutory requirement to provide a high caffeine warning on drinks containing more than 150 mg/L of caffeine. The overt purpose of adding caffeine to soft drinks is as a “flavouring agent” as it possesses a strong bitter taste. There is, however, evidence that caffeine at concentrations found in colas and within a complex matrix cannot be detected by a trained sensory panel wich has led some to hypothesise that caffeine was added for its mildly addictive properties rather than its taste. The impact of caffeine at higher concentrations such as those typically found in energy drinks remained unclear. Additionally, although we know that labelling and marketing information can generate strong expectations and impact on the experience of consumption and liking of a product, there was little information on whether information relating to caffeine presence influences healthiness perception and intended use in young adults.

The research:

Over 2017-18 and 2018-19, two learning sets of final undergraduate students in Food and Nutrition at Sheffield Hallam University worked under the supervision of Dr Cecile Morris to better understand the role of caffeine in model energy drinks and its impact on liking and perception. The information collected formed the basis for an article co-authored by one of the students, Jessica Elgar, in the academic journal LWT Food Science and Technology.  In brief, a consumer panel of 107 young adults (18-26 years of age) was recruited to assess one caffeinated and one caffeine-free model drink in both a blind condition (i.e. participants had no information about the presence of caffeine) and an informed condition (i.e. participants had information about whether the drink contained caffeine or not). Habitual caffeine intake was also measured.

The findings:

Energy drinks contributed only 5.2% to the participants’ overall caffeine intake, behind coffee and tea, and their consumption pattern appeared to be irregular rather than habitual. This broadly relates to what has been observed elsewhere and suggests that energy drinks may not be problematic with respect to overall caffeine intake. Caffeine in concentrations found in energy drinks could be detected by the participants. Both the presence of caffeine and information that caffeine was present in the drink had small, but significant detrimental effects on overall liking and liking of the bitterness level. This may explain why energy drinks often contain a lot of sugar as the sweetness masks off the bitter taste of caffeine. Healthiness perception also decreased when participants were informed that the drink contained caffeine.

A potentially bigger issue emerged from the findings with regard to how young adults planned to consume the model energy drinks: the most popular intended use for the caffeinated model energy drink, both in blind and informed conditions, was as a mixer with alcohol. This however is unlikely to be attributable specifically to the presence of caffeine in the drink as the most popular intended use for the caffeine-free model drink was also as a mixer with alcohol. Similarly, no significant difference was observed between intended purposes relating to the energy boosting properties of energy drinks.

These results and the enduring popularity of energy drinks suggest that there is more at play than taste, healthiness perception or their even energy boosting properties. Some have hypothesized that their acceptance may be linked to the positive feelings experienced when their consumption alleviates mild caffeine withdrawal symptoms. Unpicking this may prove practically challenging but would be particularly useful, as would exploring the views of younger teenagers.

About the author:

Dr Cecile Morris ( is Interim Head of the Department of Service Sector Management, Sheffield Business School of Sheffield Hallam University. Her research focuses on sensory science, food perceptions, consumer attitudes and behaviours, health and food science.

Cecile and Jessica’s article, ‘Impact of caffeine and information relating to caffeine on young adults’ liking, healthiness perception and intended use of model energy drinks’ appears in the October 2020 issue of the Journal LWT: Food Science Technology.

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The Sparkling Symposium, 28 November 2019

photo of symposium programme

Photo credit: Judith Boyle

Many thanks to all who could join us yesterday at Sheffield Hallam University for the Sparkling Symposium, hosted by the CHEFS research cluster and sponsored by Sheffield Business School, Department of Service Sector Management.

The event brought together academics and industry professionals, including wine makers, winery owners, wine retailers and wine writers, to discuss present and future directions of champagne and sparkling wine, with a focus on the British context.

The afternoon began with comments from co-organisers Professor Jennifer Smith Maguire and Dr John Dunning, welcoming 48 participants from across the UK and beyond. The Symposium marked the external launch of the CHEFS (Culture, Health, Environment, Food and Society) research cluster, and signalled the group’s commitment to fostering interdisciplinary dialogue and collaboration between academics and practitioners with regard to the socio-cultural dimensions of food and drink. What could be a better first topic of discussion than sparkling wine?

John Dunning and Jennifer Smith Maguire open the symposium

Photo credit: James Ellerby

Professor Marion Demossier delivered the first keynote: ‘Critical Reflexions on Terroir,’ in which she explored the questions of ‘What do people do with the notion of terroir?’ and ‘What does terroir do to wine?’ Drawing on 30 years of fieldwork in Burgundy and recent work in New Zealand and the UK, Marion outlined the powerful instruments and strategies that have linked place, taste and quality, and highlighted some of their potential disadvantages, including the homogenization of local cultures and environments, and the loss of authentic connections between people and place.

Marion Demossier delivering keynote Marion Demossier delivering keynote

Rebecca Gibb MW delivered the second keynote: ‘Uncorking the sparkling wine world,’ exploring some of the socio-political struggles and technological advances that underpinned the historical development of champagne. She then provided a critical analysis of the relative successes and failures of other sparkling wines. Drawing comparisons between champagne, cava, prosecco and New Zealand sparkling, Rebecca concluded by outlining some of the key factors for champagne’s enduring market success.

Rebecca Gibb delivering keynote Rebecca Gibb delivering keynote

Following a lively question and answer session, and a break for tea, coffee and cake, the Symposium resumed with Jennifer Smith Maguire outlining ‘A changing market context’ for champagne and sparkling wine in the British context. Jennifer discussed four factors that help to understand the increasingly diverse UK sparkling wine market, highlighting changing attitudes of consumers, producers and market gatekeepers such as wine journalists with regard to luxury brands, hierarchies of cultural legitimacy, desires for the hand-crafted and authentic, and a sense of taste for place and novelty.

Jennifer Smith Maguire delivering presentation

Photo credit: Helenka Brown

Participants were then treated to an entertaining and educational tasting of four champagnes, led by Rebecca and John. A highly scientific poll of participants revealed a wide spread of favourites, with each wine receiving votes for best in show: à chacun son gout!

4 tasting glasses

Photo credit: Emma Martin

John Dunning and Rebecca Gibb leading the tasting

The final major portion of the Symposium was devoted to a panel discussion of the present and future of sparkling wine. The panel included Marion Demossier, Rebecca Gibb, Mr John Mitchell and Dr Gregory Dunn. John, the owner and director of Sheffield’s Mitchells Wines, shared his insights as to the changing tastes of British consumers over his 50 years in the wine and spirits trade as a retailer and wholesaler. Greg reflected on the industry from the perspective of his research, role as the Head of Plumpton College’s Wine Division and experience as the Programme Manager for Plumpton’s MSc Viticulture & Oenology. Greg skilfully chaired the session to ensure ample contributions from the audience of both comments and questions. The panel ended with a final challenge to the panellists, asking for their recommendations as to how best to attract under-30 consumers to English sparkling wine.

Panel discussion (Greg Dunn, Rebecca Gibb, John Mitchell, Marion Demossier) James Ellerby pouring for the reception

After a stimulating afternoon of presentations and discussion—and many rounds of thanks to all involved—the Symposium concluded with a wine and canapé reception. Judging by the volume of conversations in the room, there was plenty of appetite for further discussion.

Thanks once again to all who took part. Until next time!


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Filed under alcohol, identities & rituals, representations & discourses, research, Uncategorized, urban & regional development, wine

Call for abstracts for the Routledge Handbook of Wine and Culture

Routledge have recently commissioned an interdisciplinary editorial team to produce a comprehensive Handbook of Wine and Culture. I am overseeing the sociological contributions; my fellow editors are Steve Charters, Marion Demossier, Jackie Dutton, Graham Harding, Denton Marks and Tim Unwin.

For those of you who research wine, please consider submitting an abstract. Full details in the Contributor Briefing:

Routledge Handbook of Wine and Culture Contributor Briefing

Key dates and details:

  • Chapter abstract deadline: 31 January 2020.  Abstracts are 250 words; please indicate which of the sections (1-10, outlined in the Contributor Briefing) you consider the best fit. The final decision on this will come from the editors, but it helps to know your thoughts.
  • Decision on abstracts: 13 March 2020. If accepted:
  • Initial chapter deadline: 31 July 2020. Chapters are 4,000-6,000 words, including references.
  • Post-revision chapter deadline: 30 November 2020.

Please let me know if you’ve got any questions!


Professor Jennifer Smith Maguire
Sheffield Business School | Sheffield Hallam University

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An opportunity to ‘have their say’? Community engagement in local alcohol decision-making in England

“Street drinking, begging, fighting, urinating, vomiting… and that wasn’t really a late-night economy, that was [an] afternoon.”(Public health practitioner)

There are a range of health and social issues arising from the local alcohol environment with wide-reaching impacts, not just for those doing the drinking. Decisions made at the local government level can influence the availability and accessibility of alcohol, and therefore potentially reduce these types of harm faced by the public. However, there are a range of interests at play within decisions about the alcohol environment. The potential benefits for the local economy, employment and leisure may be offset by the risks of increased crime, anti-social behaviour and disturbance faced by local communities.

Given this potential for harm, how much influence should communities have in decisions affecting the local alcohol environment? And how best to support them to become engaged in decision-making processes? UK licensing legislation recommends that communities should ‘have their say’ in the allocation of licenses to sell alcohol by local government. But what this process looks like in practice, and the extent to which communities can really shape such decisions is unclear. These questions guided our recent study to explore examples of community engagement in local alcohol decision-making – the CELAD study – with a focus on three local authority areas in the North West, South East and Yorkshire & the Humber regions of England.

And then we started the residents’ association, which was partly prompted by this, what we considered to be an excess of alcohol outlets and some really dumb opening hours.(Resident of urban area)

Deep frustration with the impacts of decisions being made by local authorities regarding the licensing of premises to sell alcohol has led to some community groups mobilising to take action. Spurred on by suffering the anti-social behaviour, vandalism and noise associated with a proliferation of alcohol outlets and availability of “cheap booze,” some residents started working together to make formal objections against licensed premises and new licence applications. However, navigating the licensing process is no easy matter for the non-expert, and residents talked of the difficulties of wading through complex “legalese,” frequently facing disappointment when their objections were overlooked.

The practitioners and councillors we spoke to also recognise the difficulties with submitting objections within the alcohol licensing process, with its “impenetrable” language and “intimidating” requirements for evidence. This has led to practitioners in one area working with other regional local authorities to develop an online guidance resource for communities wanting to input to the licensing process. Yet, there is still some doubt about the potential for this guidance to really make an impact on communities’ abilities to be engaged. With continuing budget cuts and restructuring in local authorities, practitioners find themselves increasingly stretched in their work, and there is a sense that promoting this licensing guidance and offering support to communities will not be a priority for all.

Their experience of alcohol harms in their own words. (from a practitioner presentation on policy consultation process)

Elsewhere, however, practitioners spoke to us about the added value to their work of gathering community members’ voices around local alcohol issues. A public health practitioner described the difficulties she faced with pushing for a new policy to restrict new licences in areas already saturated with alcohol outlets. It wasn’t until she was able to gather the views and experiences of different groups – residents, local business owners, voluntary groups – relating to alcohol harms that she felt there was a compelling enough story to convince councillors to approve this policy. The accounts of the community, alongside other evidence about the extent of alcohol-related harms in these areas, formed a report recommending the introduction of the policy, which was subsequently approved. A councillor remarked that the policy had indeed “come from the community.

So that’s when we looked around to see what we could do, we looked that other cities and towns had gone for cumulative impact policies…  We got in touch with licensing and said can we have a cumulative impact policy? – we’ll look into it.(City centre resident)

Being part of the evidence-gathering process to support the introduction of new policy seems to be a potentially effective way for community members to influence the local alcohol environment. We spoke with a city centre residents’ group frustrated with their unsuccessful attempts to block the opening of late-night off-licences which they felt were contributing to anti-social behaviour. They described looking to see what kinds of policies have been implemented elsewhere to address this issue, and then pushed the licensing team to consider these options. The local authority then set up a task group, including representatives of the residents’ group, to explore policy options for reducing alcohol-related harms in the city centre. Subsequently, a report recommending the introduction of a new policy was produced, including information gathered by the residents’ group on alcohol-related incidents witnessed by other residents and local businesses. The policy proposal is currently under consideration by the local authority.

“It’s only a small number of people who are ever active in this way.” (Public health practitioner)

These accounts reveal opportunities for community groups to get involved in decision-making and potentially help shape their local environments to reduce harms from alcohol. However, a persistent theme among those we spoke to was the challenge of engaging with all of the people who have a right to have their voice heard.  Those with most capacity and already mobilised to be engaged – like the city centre residents’ group – are those best positioned to push their local authority, and to get involved in consultations and influence alcohol decisions. This then leaves behind those with least capacity to be engaged. And while this is a well-recognised issue across many areas of community engagement, it’s especially worrying in relation to the alcohol environment.

We know that people on the lowest incomes face disproportionately high harms from alcohol compared with those better off. So, if mechanisms to engage communities to shape the alcohol environment favour those with more time and resources to be involved, it may worsen the inequalities we already see in relation to alcohol harms. This means that careful work needs to be done to ensure that engagement in alcohol decision-making is equitable and supports the involvement of those who suffer most from the alcohol environment. And while this may be a difficult task given the increasingly stretched capacity of local authorities in times of austerity, it’s a vital step to helping address critical inequalities relating to alcohol.

About the author

Joanna Reynolds is a Lecturer in Sociology in the Department of Psychology, Sociology and Politics.  The CELAD study was led by Joanna in collaboration with colleagues from London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Lancaster University, and the Universities of Cambridge, Sheffield and Salford.  It was funded by the NIHR School for Public Health Research.

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