9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN05 Sociology of Consumption

2009-09-04 13:30:00 2009-09-04 15:00:00 Friday, 4 September 13:30 - 15:00 Variations in Food Practices Building II, C5.01

The "Bimby phenomenon" and the change in food consumption lifestyles

Bimby (known as Thermomix in several countries) is an electronic device that helps to produce full meals and is nowadays part of the lifestyle of a significant proportion of Portuguese population. It is an expensive device which costs more than twice the portuguese minimum wage, apparently being only accessible to certain social groups. However, it seems to be a cross-class phenomenon. Without knowing exactly which are the socioeconomic characteristics of Bimby┬┤s users, due to absence of specific researches on this matter, it seems that there is a change in practices of cooking and eating habits, associated to a different investment on consumption of food. There are about 80,000 Bimby machines sold in Portugal. Despite the analysis of social classes, we propose an exploratory approach to the Portuguese online forums (four exclusively focused on the Bimby theme): through a qualitative analysis of the posted messages, we aim to understand what changes occurred in the habits of food consumption produced by "bimbyfication" of Portuguese homes, besides the analysis of other issues beyond the mere exchange of recipes and cooking techniques with Bimby.
After a modernization of food, with McDonaldization and the empire of fast food, in a modern society of fast consumption and accelerated routines with outdoor meals, is Bimby creating a new indoor lifestyle? Which changes these devices like Bimby will produce in Portuguese food lifestyles? Will it be a consumption fever, or a trend, such as that occurred in the 80s with blenders, machines to cut ham, and homemade bread mixers, which led many people to buy them despite their short use afterwards? These are some of the questions we would like to discuss with this paper.