Green Connections and Emotional Wellbeing: Sustainability as a Factor of Occupational (Dis)Satisfaction in Catering

Minna Mikkola, Anna Post


Catering in Finland and Sweden constitutes a large industry serving annually 800 million meals and 1,9 billion meals, respectively. On the sector public caterers constitute an influential professional subgroup responding to political pressures for sustainability and illustrating the use of local, organic and fairly traded food. However, heavy cost pressures and currently dilemmatic interpretations of sustainability present public caterers as objects of cultural expectations and arouse their emotions in terms of sustainability in professional environments. This paper highlights caterers’ ‘emotional life-world’ due to their green connections as a micro-sociological phenomenon. The paper investigates how professional emotions as a social force promote structural changes within food systems, as local, organic or environmental interpretations of sustainable food gain preference. In-depth interviews with 16 Finnish caterers were extracted into three exemplary cases of a happy caterer, procuring organic and highly local food, a ‘luke-warm’ contract caterer moving after the trendy demand and a stressed caterer, looking for scientific evidence for sustainability. The caterers’ emotional wellbeing was clearly affected by their green connections, whereby both positive and negative emotions were seen to drive towards sustainable catering, albeit differently interpreted; either as a local and organic or an environmental-technical orientation

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ISSN 2194-511X


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