How convenient!? Adolescents’ vistas on food competences in a convenience context

S. Wahlen*, Hilje van der Horst, Roosje Pothoff

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – Adolescents are at a stage in their life course in which they increasingly become choosers, buyers and preparers of food. Hence, they develop and employ required competences. Current food-related competences of adolescents are shaped in an environment with an abundance of convenience foods. Simultaneously food education has been limited in many western countries. The purpose of this paper is to scrutinize how young practitioners engage with the notion of convenience in a context with a strong presence of convenience foods.
Design/methodology/approach – Empirical data for this paper have been collected in a Dutch high school context following a participatory approach in focus group discussions. Data have been gathered from different food-related exercises within a classroom context.
Findings – The findings indicate that adolescents’ food competences and meanings are heavily shaped by the abundant presence of convenience foods. Adolescents perceive a nuanced picture of a skilful consumer that incorporates convenience foods in ways that minimize time efforts, preserves some preparatory tasks for fun cooking and has knowledge about health effects of fatty and salty foods. Originality/value – The investigation takes a novel look on convenience food consumption from a practice perspective scrutinizing competences through the lens of adolescent practitioners. The authors make a plea for tapping into the potential of research on children and adolescents as novice performers of practices to understand how practices are shaped and changed and how practices recruit new practitioners.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2828-2838
JournalBritish Food Journal
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • competences
  • social practices
  • convenience foods
  • adolescence
  • food consumption


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