The main objective of this coordinated project is to give an answer to the challenges faced by Spanish society and its institutions in their attempt to achieve fairer, healthier and more sustainable food systems in a context that is far from being politically and socioeconomically stable. A context where life precariousness is having an impact on the increase of social inequalities and the worsening of living conditions for the most vulnerable persons.

Our research falls within Challenge 6 of “Social Sciences, Humanities and Natural Sciences With and For Society” (and linked to Challenge 1, “Health, Demographic Change and Well-being”, and Challenge 2, “Food Quality and Safety”), and its main goal is to help transforming social and economic policy to tackle ageing and demographic change, social exclusion and poverty, as well as to promote healthy and sustainable lifestyles.

Since an approach to food (in)security is only contemplated in a fragmented way in Spanish political and social agendas, this research considers a holistic approach. This places at the centre of the debate the different types of food insecurity coexisting today, their nature and scope, and, particularly, how they manifest themselves, in one of the groups with the greatest demographic weight and one of the most vulnerable: the elderly.

Since this project focuses on economic and socio-cultural factors limiting people’s equitable access to one of the basic requirements for subsistence, we will analyse the unequal impact that the gender system has on the different forms of food insecurity (accessibility and harmlessness) and their health effects.

The objective of the two subprojects conforming this research is to discover the food (in)security problems that, since they affect the elderly, need to be solved urgently.

Coordinated by: MARC -Universitat Rovira i Virgili

Financed by: Ministry of Science and Innovation (Project R+D+i – Retos – Coordinated. Subproject 2. Code: PID2019-104253RB-C22)

Call: Programa estatal de I+D+I orientada a los retos de la sociedad. Ministry of Science and Innovation.

Project code: EIN2020-112290

Period: June 2020 – May 2024


Subproject 1

Precarization and (un)secure food itineraries in later life

Further information about Eating Matters’ Subproject 1: “Precarization and (un)secure food itineraries in later life” developed by Universitat Rovira i Virgili here. 

Subproject 2

Environmental risks and dietary uncertainties in later life

This subproject, developed by Universitat de Barcelona, will examine those aspects of food itineraries that condition and/or determine whether the diet of older people is more or less healthy and environmentally sustainable, taking into account their diversity in terms of gender, social class, family structure and place of residence (rural/urban).

The sustainability of diets, according to the 2030 Agenda SDGs, goes beyond ensuring the nutritional or biological safety of food, requiring the improvement of economic and socio-cultural aspects of food, in order to bring about a new food transition. In this regard, the aim is to analyse food practices that put the health of the elderly at risk when they don’t have access to safe food, in harmless conditions both nutritionally and environmentally.

The project will also explore whether the absence of establishments with a diversity of affordable and healthy food in the living environment of the elderly increases these forms of food insecurity. Similarly, the aim is to analyse how the food risk and the uncertainties of the exposure to persistent toxic substances are perceived, to the extent that the elderly are more vulnerable to possible harmful effects, compromising their chances to grow old in a healthy way. It will also examine social initiatives of citizen participation that promote healthier and more sustainable food practices, as well as alternative proposals to achieve food security alongside or independently of the agribusiness models. Lastly, It will compare how laypersons and experts perceive nutritional and environmental risks, looking at factors such as trust/distrust, attitudes, and different forms of communicating and educating about food risks.

Mabel Gracia-Arnaiz

Principal Investigator – Subproject 1

Professor at the Department of Anthropology,
Philosophy and Social Work, Universitat Rovira i Virgili.

Cristina Larrea-Killinger

Principal Investigator – Subproject 2

Professor at the Department of Social Anthropology, Universitat de Barcelona.


Universitat Rovira i Virgili

Subproject 1

Research team URV

Mabel Gracia (Principal Investigator, U. Rovira i Virgili)

Lina Casadó (U. Rovira i Virgili)

Blanca Deusdad (U. Rovira i Virgili)

Montserrat García (U. Ramon Llull)

Elena Requena (U. Ramon Llull)

Oriol Romaní (U. Rovira i Virgili)

Work team URV

Agustí Andreu (U. Rovira i Virgili)

Anna Batet (U. Rovira i Virgili)

Núria Borrell (U. Rovira i Virgili)

Mireia Campanera (U. Rovira i Virgili)

Flavia Demonte (U. Nacional San Martín)

Mercè Gasull (U. Rovira i Virgili)

Marc González (U. Rovira i Virgili)

Virginia Henriques Calado (U. de Lisboa)

Thalita Kalix (U. Rovira i Virgili)

Ricardo A. Moreno (U. Rovira i Virgili)

Héctor M. Vásquez (U. Rovira i Virgili)

Universitat de Barcelona

Subproject 2

Research team UB

Cristina Larrea (Principal Investigator, U. de Barcelona)

Miguel Company (U. de Almería)

Jordi Gascón (U. de Barcelona)

Andrés Fontalba (U. de Málaga) 

Maite Ojeda (U. de València)

Work team UB

Juan P. Arrebola (U. de Granada)

Ruth Echeverría (FIB Hospital 12 de Octubre – imas12)

Patricia Ferreira (CES, Coimbra)

Claudia Juzwiack (U. Federal de Sao Paulo)

Oriol Larrea (U. de Barcelona)

Claudia Magaña (U. de Barcelona)

M. Clara de Moraes Prata (U. de Barcelona)

Araceli Muñoz (U. de Barcelona)

Borja Núñez (U. de Málaga) 

Claudia Soar (U. Federal de Santa Catarina)

Úrsula Verthein (U. Oberta de Catalunya)


The research project Eating Matters has finished the field work in Andalusia, Catalonia and the Valencian Community. This work took place between the months of June and November 2021, with the participation of around 20 people, including researchers and support staff.

The field work consisted of carrying out research stays in different neighborhoods and municipalities of these three autonomous communities by territorial work teams. Throughout the stays in the field, each team conducted interviews with senior citizens, collecting their food diaries over five days. This was complemented with life stories from participants. To investigate the situation of the elderly population from other perspectives, interviews with key informants (experts, professionals in the social and health field, entities and activists) were conducted, and discussion groups were organized.

The choice of the neighborhoods and municipalities where the field work was carried out took into account the research objectives and heterogeneity criteria based on social, demographic and environmental characteristics.


The work team carried out a research stay in the municipality of Humilladero (Málaga) and in the city of Granada during the months of June and July 2021. Humilladero is a town with more than 3000 inhabitants with a very aging population and the Zaidín-Vergeles neighborhood in Granada is the most populous in the city, showing strong economic inequalities among its neighbors.


The field research was carried out in three areas: the city of Barcelona (three neighborhoods), the city of Tarragona and different municipalities in the regions of Tarragonés, Terra Alta, Ribera d’Ebre and Priorat. Specifically in areas with a high rate of aging population. In Catalonia, the field research process was developed from June to November, 2021.

Valencian Community

The project was presented on July 2nd, 2021, in the municipality of Teresa (Castellón), a town with approximately 250 inhabitants. The field work in different neighborhoods in the city of Valencia took place during November 2021.


Gener-febrer 2022 – EN

Newsletter January-February 2022 
March 2022 – EN

Newsletter March 2022
Abril 2022 – EN

Newsletter April 2022
May 2022 – EN

Newsletter May 2022
July 2021 – EN

Newsletter July 2021
August 2021 – ES

Newsletter August 2021
September 2021 – EN

Newsletter September 2021
Octubre 2021 – EN

Newsletter October 2021 
Novembre 2021 – EN

Newsletter November 2021 
Desembre 2021 – EN

Newsletter December 2021 



27 – 29.01.2022 | Congress. II Congrés Català d’Antropologia COCA. Communication by Cristina Larrea Killinger and Mabel Gracia: “Aprovisionamiento de alimentos durante la pandemia de COVID en España por parte de las personas mayores. Girona (Spain). Further information here.


22 – 23.6.2021 | Symposium. 7th BSA Food Study Group Conference: Food & Food Systems in a time of Insecurity. Communications by Mireia Campanera, Lina Casadó, Mabel Gracia and Rat Garcia: 1) “Managing food assistance in the city of Barcelona: food itineraries, gender and health” 2) “Food aid in Spain: right to food, waste reduction, and market surplus beyond Covid-19”. Further information here.

18.6.2021 | Panel discussion. ISCo 10 años: Construyendo en el presente. With the participation of Mabel Gracia in the panel dIscussion: “Bueno para vender antes que bueno para comer”. Instituto de Salud Colectiva. ISCo-UNLa. Argentina. Watch the video here.

16.6.2021 | Virtual seminar. Debats des de l’Antropologia i el Treball Social: Alimentació, reagrarització i patrimonializació. Social Anthropology Group, Universitat Rovira i Virgili. With the participation of: Marc González: “Reagrarización y acceso a la tierra: un análisis de los Bancos de Tierra públicos en Catalunya.”; Mabel Gracia: “Precarización de la vida cotidiana: inseguridad alimentaria, género y salud”; Agustí Andreu: “La intervención del patrimonio en la mercantilización de los productos locales”. Further information here.

10.6.2021 | Conference. Biennal Ciutat i Ciència 2021. Ajuntament de Barcelona. With the participation of Mabel Gracia in the panel discussion: “Desigualtats socials i alimentació: El cas de l’obesitat” . Watch the video here.

3.6.2021 | Congress. I Congreso Gastrosofía; Ciudades alimentadas. With the participation of Mabel Gracia in the panel discussion: “Innovación, bienestar común: Modelos y fórmulas para hacer más permeable la relación entre sistema alimentario y ciudadanía”. Asociación La Plasita. Real Fábrica de Artillería de Sevilla. Watch the video here.

13-14.5.2021 | Symposium. Vº Col·loqui MARC. Diàlegs sobre (in)seguretat alimentària: precarització, risc i sostenibilitat. Organizing Committee: Mabel Gracia, Mireia Campanera, Cristina Larrea and Deborah Bekele (MARC). Presentations by: Mabel Gracia, Lina Casadó, Araceli Muñoz, Claudia Magaña, Cristina Larrea and Juan Pedro Arrebola. Panel coordination by: Rat Garcia, Mireia Campanera, Maria Clara Prata. Further information here.

​​​​​​​1.2.2021 | Congress. XV Congreso de Antropología ASAEE. Oral communication by Lina Casadó and Mireia Campanera: “Ayudas alimentarias: entre la reducción del despilfarro y el derecho a la comida en contextos de precarización”. Further information here.

23-28.11.2020 | Congress. VI Congreso de la Asociación Latinoamericana de Antropología. Desafíos emergentes: Antropologías desde América Latina y el Caribe. “Comer importa: desafíos para una alimentación saludable y sostenible en las personas mayores”, presentation by Mabel Gracia and Cristina Larrea-Killinger; “Las relaciones entre alimentación-salud-riesgo en tiempos de pandemia de COVID-19”, presentation by Cristina Larrea-Killinger, Amanda Barba, Maria Clara Prata Gaspar, Sara Anadon, Marta Ruíz and Arantza Beguería.  Area 23, symposium 169: “Perspectivas socioculturales de los riesgos alimentarios y del comer saludable”, coordinated by: Maria Clara de Moraes Prata Gaspar, Ligia Amparo de Silva Santos, Ursula Vethein, Cristina Larrea-Killinger (Montevideo, virtual, 23-28/11/2020. Presentation: 24/11/2020). Further information here.

28.1.2020 – 1.2.2020 | Congress. I Congrés Català d’Antropologia. “Eating matters: challenges of a healthy and sustainable food in later life”, presentation by Mabel Gracia and Cristina Larrea Killinger. Symposium 13: “Incerteses del sistema alimentari”, coordinated by: Mabel Gracia and Cristina Larrea Killinger. Further information here.


  • Gracia-Arnaiz, M.; Larrea-Killinger, C (2022). Comer importa: los desafíos de una alimentación inclusiva, saludable y sostenible para un mejor envejecimiento. Revista d’etnologia de Catalunya, 24, 235-237.
2018 and before

Mabel Gracia Arnaiz

Principal Investigator - Subproject 1

Professor at the Department of Anthropology,
Philosophy and Social Work, Universitat Rovira i Virgili.

Cristina Larrea-Killinger

Principal Investigator - Subproject 2

Professor at the Department of Social Anthropology, Universitat de Barcelona.

Further information and contact: | (+34) 934 037 755


Share This