In “Toward a Psychosociology of Contemporary Food Consumption”, Roland Barthes introduces the idea that food is not just for eating anymore. He explains that every country has its own type of food and preparations for such food that impact their culture. Barthes points out that food has been something that has been overlooked and thought to be insignificant. However he claims that food is “a system of communication, a body of images, a protocol of usages, situations, and behavior” (29).Barthes states that bread is not just bread, different types signify different situations. His example is a regular loaf may just be for a normal day but pain de mie for a party. Our food choices make a statement all of their own.
Barthes enlightens his audience by pointing out that not only foods differ between classes but tastes. Lower-income families prefer sweet and smooth materials while upper classes prefer bitter substances. He continues by explaining it would be systematic to describe food for what it signifies rather than what the food itself is. This becomes very import to the world of advertising. Barthes identifies three main groups of values concerning food, the commemorative, anthropological, and health. He explains the invention of the snack bar to meet peoples’ fast paced lives and the function of advertising to portray coffee as not caffeine but as a break. His theory is that food “transforms itself into situation” (34). Roland Barthes concludes that as our culture changes or foods change and as our foods change they also shape our culture and lives.