Consumers are increasingly practicing an alternative model of politics when they make food choices influenced by civic concerns. The new markets that emerge in this context carry specific modes of qualification that makes food products valuable not only for their intrinsic properties, but also for features associated with their production and distribution. This paper aims to describe the different modes of political qualification and consumer engagement that operate in food markets based on secondary data collected in papers, books, certification norms, and websites. Three distinct “political food markets” are identified: a) Fair Trade; b) sustainable agriculture; and c) vegetarian. Whilst the latter is based on a boycott of “bad” products, the other two focus on “good” alternatives. Different types of political engagement are associated to these markets, ranging from a delegation form in Fair Trade, empowered consumption in sustainable agriculture, to a lifestyle engagement regarding vegetarianism. Market devices such as certification play a major role in the growth of these markets, but also affect the type of engagement that is solicited from consumers.


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