Green and/or brown: Governing food production in India

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In 2011, the Indian state made it mandatory to label all packaged food products to indicate whether they are vegetarian (green/veg) or non-vegetarian (brown/non-veg). Given the rise of a consumer culture relying on super/hypermarkets, these labels are now ubiquitous on packaging throughout India. While the concept of ahimsa (non-injury to all living creatures) is central to Hinduism, and Hindu vegetarianism has been thoroughly explored in the literature, there is no corresponding exploration of how labelling “green” and “brown” conditions food and food ingredient production in India. Moreover, India is a major producer of meat, in particular water buffalo beef. Based on fieldwork in India, this article explores how manufacturing companies understand and practice “green” and “brown” as nationalized standards. I argue that while existing studies of vegetarianism and non-vegetarianism overwhelmingly explore micro-social aspects, such as everyday consumption among social groups, the nationalized overlapping technologies and techniques of production and regulation, which combined determine whether a product is veg or non-veg and thereby help to format the market, are not well understood. This paper addresses the research question: what are the consequences of the nationalized green/brown regulation for food production in contemporary India? Based on ethnographic fieldwork, the paper explores the green/brown regulation and the management thereof in manufacturing companies.
TidsskriftResearch in Globalization
Udgave nummer2
StatusUdgivet - dec. 2020

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