Sustainability is one of the major challenges that societies are facing. The question of why and how consumer food sustainability related issues (e.g., food waste, sustainable food shopping behavior, among others) are placed on the public agenda is therefore of high interest to food policy makers. Drawing from media agenda setting theory, this study provides the first analysis of how relationships between consumer food sustainability-related frames appear in the media. Focusing on the COVID-19 crisis, it is examined how the media framed food sustainability issues in 2019 and 2020. 271 newspaper stories are investigated through a rather new approach to quantitative content analysis that incorporated binary coding, optimal scaling, and path analysis. The study’s findings point to various significant relationships between frame contents and implications and similarly bring to light the moderating effects of the COVID-19 crisis and ‘article authorship’ on a number of these relationships. The findings contribute to the understanding of how public opinion regarding food sustainability develops and can help food policymakers and authorities seeking to develop, position, and address issues relevant to food sustainability.
- Media agenda setting theory
- Quantitative content analysis
- COVID-19 crisis