Austerity Retail in Britain
CLOSE

Campus Map

Working with Coventry University

Working at Coventry University

Coventry University is a diverse and exciting place to work and we share the enthusiasm of our staff and students to be the best at whatever they choose to do. As one of the City’s biggest employers, we offer some impressive benefits for our staff and are committed to delivering the very best opportunities. We have a comprehensive training, personal and professional development programme that provides our employees with the skills to enhance their performance in the workplace and grow in their careers. There are pension schemes, a generous holiday allowance and flexible working opportunities as well as lifestyle benefits including childcare vouchers, discounted membership to the £4 million sports and recreation centre and schemes such as Cycle to Work and the CU Car Share initiative.

View current job vacancies.

LOG IN TO THE COVENTRY UNIVERSITY SITE

Staff portal

Access the central point of information for all staff across the University.

LOG IN TO THE STAFF PORTAL

Student Portal

Check your assessments, access Solar and get course information.

LOG IN TO THE STUDENT PORTAL
banner image

Austerity Retail in Britain


Funder

The British Academy

Value

£9,000

Project Team

Dr. Lopamudra Saxena and Dr. Chiara Tornaghi


Project Objectives

This project aims to critically examine the emergence of what we call ‘austerity retail’ initiatives amidst rising food poverty in Britain. These include ‘social supermarkets’ and other forms of ‘community shop’ offering highly discounted products, and often making use of ‘surplus’ or ‘rejected’ foods which would otherwise be thrown away. We plan to use the findings from this project as a platform to explore a larger research project on austerity retail initiatives in the particular context of food poverty in Coventry.

Impact Statement

Despite having the fifth highest GDP in the world, food poverty in Britain has increased. While academic literature in the field of food geographies has already shed some light on both the charity side (food banks) and productive side (community gardens, urban agriculture, alternative food networks), little is known on the models and initiatives which are emerging within the realms of shopping/retail in times of austerity. Our research project is timely and relevant to critically understanding such initiatives. ‘Social supermarkets’ in particular are attracting considerable attention and research interest from local and national public sector food advisory bodies, policymakers, the private sector, and the media. This project will examine this emerging phenomenon and look at its implications and impacts in the longer term as an intervention to counter Britain’s vulnerability to hunger. Alongside social supermarkets, other retail initiatives have emerged such as The People’s Supermarket in London and ‘hiSbe’ (how it should be) in Brighton, which aim to offer affordable alternatives rooted in principles of sustainability, ethical sourcing and/or social inclusion. No systematic attention in academic literature has so far been paid to the full range of models and underpinning visions that are emerging within the shopping/retail sector in times of austerity. This project will undertake the first systematic critical investigation, in the context of Britain, of what we describe as ‘austerity retail’: non-charitable initiatives, aimed primarily at low-income consumers, that often – although not always - include ‘surplus’ or ‘rejected’ food in their portfolio.