The Marketised Health Discourse:A Multimodal Approach to Protein Snack Packaging

  • Date:
  • Time: 15:00 -16:00
  • Location: Michael Sadler Building Room 1.19
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Speaker: Dr Ariel Chen, Örebro University, Sweden  


The talk explores how protein snacks are marketed as healthy and how the myth of protein are reproduced through their packaging. Research shows that consumers believe high protein food has a positive impact on physical performance and body composition, although there is very little evidence supporting this benefit. Protein foods and beverages are nevertheless one of the fastest growing sectors in the food market and we now see food companies exploit peoples’ beliefs by adding protein to food that was formerly seen as unhealthy. A Multimodal Critical Discourse Analysis will show that the packages market these products as an outcome of scientific modern technology, but this is done in playful and comforting ways. This goes along with neoliberal ideas about wellness and demands of an active lifestyle. The results point to the limitations of existing regulations as marketing shape and capitalise on discourses of health. 


Ariel Chen is a post-doctoral researcher at Örebro University. Her research interests lie in Multimodal Critical Discourse Analysis especially applied to media discourse in relation to neoliberal society. She is currently working on a research project which focuses on how media and food packaging communicate, inform and guide the public to make healthy diet choices. She also examines the way the commercial drive of food marketing colonises and shapes the discourse of healthy food.