Press Release 27-January-2010 on Junk food: myth and metaphor Print

Press release


Junk food: myth and metaphor

The Manchester Salon is inviting people to join the debate over the role of junk food as a political hot potato in our society – and share in a chip butty.


It has lined up three distinguished speakers to head a discussion into the ethics of food and health and what is meant by so called 'junk food' in popular discussions.


The concept of junk food has never been more relevant: from school lunch box inspections to a growing concern about increased obesity that many link to junk food, to the social and economic cost of producing and consuming cheap food.


Coordinator Simon Belt said: We don’t normally start with a chip butty! But as most people eat what is often termed junk food without too many problems, the discussion is trying to get to grips with why there are rather frenetic campaigns against ‘junk food’, hence the myth and metaphor tagline. Chip butties are just a great example of something most people like to eat at some time but it is presented as an example of a problem food source in many campaigns. It sometimes feels like we're being labelled as junk rather than the food.


With fears over food fuelled by the media, in particular what we feed to our children, the debate aims to challenge mainstream ideas on what junk food is and whether it is in reality just another form of social control.


The keynote speakers at the event are: Justine Brian, a trained cook and national co-ordinator for the Institute of Ideas and Pfizer Debating Matters Competition; Rob Lyons, deputy editor of online magazine, Spiked, which is currently hosting a debate called: What is the Future of Food?; and Angelica Michelis, senior lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University who is conducting research on the meaning of food.


The debate takes place at the Shakespeare pub, 16 Fountain Street, Manchester, M2 2AA at 7.15pm on Thursday 18 February. A charge of £5 is made to cover costs.


Notes to editors:The Manchester Salon meets every month to discuss a contemporary issue, sometimes sparked by the publication of a particular book. For further details visit, or contact Simon Belt by Email on This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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