Encyclopedia of Food and Agricultural Ethics

Living Edition
| Editors: David M. Kaplan


  • Jessica LoyerEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-6167-4_574-1



Superfoods are an increasingly significant category of health foods that are celebrated for their supposed extraordinary nutritional and/or medicinal properties, their histories of traditional use by ancient or indigenous communities, and their “natural” and “authentic” qualities (Loyer 2016). There is no standard definition of the term “superfood”; it is not a legal or regulatory category such as “organic” or “fair trade,” nor is it used by scholarly convention as is the term “functional food” (Lunn 2006). It can be considered a subcategory of the latter because superfoods are marketed for their health benefits and are referred to in the marketing literature as “naturally functional” (Mellentin 2014). The term appears prominently on product packaging, in marketing, and in the media, where tentative scientific findings regarding a food’s healthfulness, often funded by economically interested parties, are...


Fair Trade Functional Food Health Claim Food Sovereignty Nutritional Science 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Crabtree, J. (2002). The impact of neo-liberal economics on Peruvian peasant agriculture in the 1990s. Journal of Peasant Studies, 29(3–4), 131–161.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Heasman, M. (2008). The regulatory context for the use of health claims and the marketing of functional foods: Global principles. In C. M. Hasler (Ed.), Regulation of functional foods and nutraceuticals: A global perspective (pp. 37–54). Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell.Google Scholar
  3. Hermann, M., & Bernet, T. (2009). The transition of maca from neglect to market prominence: Lessons for improving use strategies and market chains of minor crops (Agricultural biodiversity and livelihoods discussion papers 1). Rome: Bioversity International.Google Scholar
  4. Kerssen, T. M. (2015). Food sovereignty and the quinoa boom: Challenges to sustainable re-peasantisation in the southern Altiplano of Bolivia. Third World Quarterly, 36(3), 489–507.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Knight, C. (2015). “We can’t go back a hundred million years”: Low-carbohydrate dieters’ responses to nutritional primitivism. Food, Culture & Society, 18(3), 441–461.Google Scholar
  6. Loyer, J. (2016). Communicating superfoods: A case study of maca packaging. In Proceedings of the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery, 2015, Oxford, UK (in print).Google Scholar
  7. Lunn, J. (2006). Superfoods. Nutrition Bulletin, 31, 171–172.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Mellentin, J. (2014). Key trends in functional foods & beverages for 2015. Nutraceuticals World, 17(9), 33–41.Google Scholar
  9. Morris, J. (2012). Superfood kitchen. New York: Sterling Epicure.Google Scholar
  10. Neuman, W. (2014, December 7). Vegetable spawns larceny and luxury in Peru. The New York Times, A10.Google Scholar
  11. Scrinis, G. (2013). Nutritionism: The science and politics of dietary advice. New York: Columbia University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Weitkamp, E., & Eidsvaag, T. (2014). Agenda building in media coverage of food research. Journalism Practice, 8(6), 871–886.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Williams, P., & Ghosh, D. (2008). Health claims and functional foods. Nutrition & Dietetics, 65(S3), S89–S93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Wolfe, D. (2009). Superfoods: The food and medicine of the future. Berkeley: North Atlantic Books.Google Scholar
  15. Yates, L. S. (2011). Critical consumption. European Societies, 13(2), 191–217.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of HumanitiesUniversity of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia