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  • 1. Chen, Ariel
    Changing visual representations and visual designs in Chinese women’s lifestyle magazine: The path to consumerism and new female identity2015Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 2. Chen, Ariel
    Self-help genres in the changing Chinese magazine market2012Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 3.
    Chen, Ariel
    et al.
    Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences.
    Eriksson, Göran
    Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences.
    The making of healthy and moral snacks: A multimodal critical discourse analysis of corporate storytelling2019In: Discourse, Context & Media, ISSN 2211-6958, E-ISSN 2211-6966, Vol. 32, article id 100347Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper examines how snack brands represent themselves as producers of healthy food through corporatestories on their websites. The increased emphasis on health in ‘‘the new public health era” has createda market for products promoted as healthy or with some kind of wellbeing association. Riding onthis trend, many companies have emerged and positioned themselves as providing good food options.Employing the theory of social semiotics and using multimodal critical discourse analysis, we ask the following questions: How do these companies use corporate stories to make themselves appear as a better alternative than their competitors? How do they make their products appear healthy and attractive to consumers? And how can this kind of marketing help consumers choose healthier products? The analysis of 22 corporate stories of healthy snack companies shows that healthy eating is colonized by a moral discourse for marketing and branding purposes. Furthermore, the health qualities these companies claim to have are abstract, symbolic, and commercialized. We argue that these corporate stories provide no meaningful indication as to the healthiness of these products and can mislead consumers to consume less healthy food while having the intention to eat healthily.

  • 4.
    Chen, Ariel
    et al.
    Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences.
    Eriksson, Göran
    Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences.
    The mythologization of protein: a Multimodal Critical Discourse Analysis of snacks packaging2019In: Food, Culture and Society, ISSN 1528-9796, Vol. 22, no 4, p. 423-445Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper examines how protein snacks are marketed as good food choices through their packaging and how these packages reproduce a discourse – what we see as a myth – of the benefits of high protein intake. Research shows that consumers believe high protein food has a positive impact on physical performance and body composition, although there is very little evidence of this. Protein foods and beverages are nevertheless one of the fastest growing sectors in the food market and we now see food companies exploit peoples beliefs by adding protein to food that was formerly seen as unhealthy. Adopting a Multimodal Critical Discourse Analysis (MCDA) we look in detail at the packaging of a group of snacks that are usually high in fat and sugar but now appear as good food options, particularly through accentuating the protein content. The analysis shows that the packages market these products as an outcome of scientific modern technology, but this is done in playful and comforting ways. This goes along with neoliberal ideas about wellness and demands of an active lifestyle. From these findings, we discuss the limitations of existing regulations as marketing shape and capitalize on discourses of health.

  • 5.
    Chen, Ariel
    et al.
    Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences.
    Eriksson, Göran
    Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences.
    “With Great Taste Comes Great Responsibility”: A Multimodal Critical Discourse Analysis of corporate storytelling2019Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 6.
    Chen, Ariel
    et al.
    Cardiff University, Cardiff, United Kingdom.
    Machin, David
    Brunel University, Kingston Ln, United Kingdom.
    Changing genres and language styles in contemporary Chinese lifestyle magazines2013In: Media International Australia: Incorporating Culture & Policy, ISSN 1329-878X, E-ISSN 2200-467X, no 147, p. 73-84Article in journal (Refereed)
  • 7.
    Chen, Ariel
    et al.
    Sch Journalism Media & Cultural Studies, Cardiff Univ, Cardiff, UK.
    Machin, David
    Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences.
    The local and the global in the visual design of a Chinese women's lifestyle magazine: a multimodal critical discourse approach2014In: Visual Communication, ISSN 1470-3572, E-ISSN 1741-3214, Vol. 13, no 3, p. 287-301Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article uses a multimodal critical discourse analytic approach to analyse how a Chinese women's magazine has changed visually over 17 years, partly through the gradual adoption of international branding design styles and partly through consumer product influences from Japan that are used to recontextualize core Chinese values and women's identities. The authors conclude that, like established international magazine brands, this title signifies freedom, but of a very different order to that found in those counterparts.

  • 8.
    Eriksson, Göran
    et al.
    Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences.
    Chen, Ariel
    Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences.
    Protein = Healthy?: A Multimodal Critical Discourse Analysis of protein snacks packaging2018Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In this paper, we examine how protein snacks are marketed as a healthy choice through their packaging and discuss the cultural meanings of protein that are communicated to consumers via packaging. With the rise of obesity and chronic disease, the EU and many member national governments are promoting healthy diet as the solution to this public health challenge. The new wellness food industry is now a trillion dollarbusiness. Food companies are capitalising on this via reformulating products to appear healthier. One common strategy is adding protein to food that wasformerly seen as unhealthy. This is in line with research that has found that consumers believe high protein food has a positive impact on physical performance, body composition, and weight control. It has been discussed that in the West the modern healthy food discourse has become not being healthy perse but instead linked to multiple possibilities of cultural meaning. What has not yet been carefully explored is how ideas of healthy eating and its cultural meaning are embedded in food packaging. Adopting Multimodal Critical Discourse Analysis (MCDA) we look at the packaging of a group of snacks that are usually high in fat and sugar that have been reformulated to enhance their protein content and thereby appear to be healthy food options. We argue that the kind of healthy food messages this packaging creates is often confusing and misleading. The discourse favours profit-driven marketers and might have a negative impact on public health.

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