Geofile April 2007 Globalisation Of Food


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Geofile April 2007 Globalisation Of Food

  1. 1. APRIL 2007 Online Geo file 541 Garrett Nagle Globalisation of food production the US market. Today just four Figure 1: The top 6 UK food retailers Introduction feedlots feed half the cattle in the Food has gone global. Farming has USA and these are directly Tesco 25.5% become increasingly intensive, large connected to the four processing Sainsbury 17.4% scale and globalised in the drive for firms that control over 80% of beef cheaper food. Advances in processing. It is a similar tale with Morrison’s 16.1% technology and communications agro-chemicals. In the late 1980s the Asda 15.8% have combined with falls in the costs top 20 firms accounted for 90% of Somerfield 5.7% (Adapted from Taylor Nelson Sofres) of transport to transform the way in sales. By the late 1990s 10 firms which food is sourced. The additives controlled 90% of sales. industry is finding ever more ingenious ways to cut manufacturers’ costs and increase Economic impacts Figure 2: The world’s top ten global food In the 1950s, of every £1 spent on retailers their profits. The concentration of power in retailing and food food and drink 50-60% went to the farmer. Today, just 9% of every £1 1 Wal-Mart (US) 199 billion processing has affected those at the other end of the scale, namely spent on food and drink goes back to 2 Carrefour (EU) 86 billion farmers in LEDCs and small farmers the farmers. Britain’s food market is 3 Ahold (EU) 53 billion in MEDCs. Increasingly, modern dominated by five big supermarket farming methods are having a groups: Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, 4 Kroger (US) 51 billion negative impact on the environment Morrison’s and Somerfield (Figure 5 Metro (EU) 47 billion and on the trafficking of 1). The combined profits of the top 6 Albertson’s (US) 39 billion populations. four supermarkets was £2.1bn in 2000. Approximately half of the 7 Kmart (US) 39 billion In the last 50 years a revolution has UK’s food is now sold from just 1000 8 Rewe (EU) 36 billion taken place in the food industry. giant stores. The top 20 food brands 9 Tesco (EU) 34 billion Every step of food production – how in the UK spend over £100 million a it is grown, harvested, processed, year on marketing. In the USA $30 10 Aldi (EU) 33 billion distributed, retailed and cooked – billion is spent on advertising by US (Source: Cap Gemini Ernst and Young) has changed. Until the Second food industries. The world’s top World War farmers were the major global food retailers have huge Figure 3: The top 10 global food players in the food industry. After turnovers (Figure 2). Despite the manufacturers (total food sales US$ the war they were given grants and increasing power of manufacturers billion) subsidies, but these were merely to and retailers, it is likely to be consumers that drive the food 1 Nestle 46.6 stop them going out of business. They were supported as long as they ‘chain’ in the future. 2 Philip Morris (Kraft) 38.1 restructured. Many therefore 3 Con Agra 27.6 intensified, increased efficiency and Food and drink is the largest adopted labour-saving technologies manufacturing sector in the UK. It 4 Unilever 26.7 such as agro-chemicals, machinery accounts for over 14% of 5 PepsiCo 25.1 and high-yielding varieties (HYVs) manufacturing output and has an 6 ADM (corn milling) 23.5 of plants. annual turnover of over £66 billion. Some 470,000 people are employed 7 Tyson (meat processing) 23.4 Fifty years later some of the in food and drink manufacturing. 8 Cargill 21.5 subsidies are being cut. While 9 Coca-cola 20.1 ‘farmer power’ has decreased in the In the USA, over 13,000 new food last 50 years, the power of retailers items are launched each year to add 10 Mars 15.3 and food processors has increased. to the 300,000 already available. In (Source: Global Food Markets Leatherhead Food The rise of large food processing Europe over 10,000 new products are International) companies has been phenomenal. launched each year but over 90% fail The market share of the top 20 US to survive a year. Only a minority of between a third and 40% of all UK food manufacturers has doubled food brands and products will road freight. The food system has since 1967. Just 100 companies now become global products and join the become almost completely account for 80% of all value added ranks of Nestle, Pepsi, Coca-Cola, dependent on crude oil. This means i.e. the increase in price over and Kelloggs, Heinz and Mars (Figure food supplies are vulnerable, above the raw farm food prices. 3). Of all the world’s top 50 inefficient and unsustainable. consumer brands, food accounts for The level of manufacturing a fifth. Between 1978 and 1998, the distance concentration is also remarkable, at food was transported increased by regional, national and global levels. The global food industry has a 50%. Transporting animals long In the mid-1970s the top four US massive impact on transport. Food distances to slaughter has made it beef packers controlled about 25% of distribution now accounts for almost impossible to contain Geofile Online © Nelson Thornes 2007
  2. 2. April 2007 no.541 Globalisation of food production Figure 4: Geography of a Christmas dinner countries have kept their quotas and continued to subsidise their agriculture. The terms of trade are unfair - poorer countries are paid UK Sprouts lower prices for their products 200 km relative to their imports. Rich countries spend over $300 bn a year Italy Potatoes 2,400 km subsidising their farmers. The EU’s Common Agricultural Policy, which Spain subsidises farmers in the EU, costs Carrots each family of four in Britain £16 a 1,600 km week in higher taxes and food prices. These subsidies have a devastating effect on developing economies. Zambia Thailand They encourage over-supply, which Runner beans Poultry 17,000 km leads to low prices and dumping. 8,000 km Changing suppliers: the rise Zimbabwe Mange tout of Vietnam 8,000 km In 1990 Vietnam produced very little coffee. In the 1990s, encouraged by the World Bank and International contract to supply its stores in Monetary Fund to restructure its The wastefulness of a Christmas dinner several countries. Del Monte, economy, open up its markets and GeoFile Series 25 sourcing in Latin America, won a Issue 3 Fig 541_04 Mac/eps/illustrator 11 s/s invest its energies in generating The ingredients of a traditional PUBLISHING of the contract and NELSON THORNES large chunk foreign exchange, Vietnam began an Christmas meal bought David Russell Illustrationof the scale, agreed a deal Artist: from a because aggressive programme to encourage supermarket may have cumulatively which enabled Wal-Mart to slash its its farmers to move out of domestic travelled 24,000 miles, according to a prices. Bananas fell from £1.08p per production of rice (the price of report, ‘Eating Oil’. Buying the kilo in August 2002 to 81p at the end ingredients for Christmas dinner in a which was volatile, thanks in part to of March 2003. dumping of subsidised harvests from London supermarket, the report found that poultry could have been imported the US) and into growing cash crops The event illustrates some of the for export, particularly coffee. from Thailand and travelled nearly 17,000 km, runner beans came from global forces that have transformed Zambia (nearly 8,000 km), carrots the food chain. By the end of the Vietnam is not ideally suited to from Spain (1,600 km), mangetout 1990s, three-quarters of world coffee production and nearly all its from Zimbabwe (over 8,000 km), banana trade was in the hands of just crop is of the lower quality robusta potatoes from Italy (2,400 km), and five companies: Chiquita (26%), type used for instant coffee, rather sprouts from Britain, where they were Dole (25%), and Del Monte, Fyffes than the arabica beans which fetch transported around the country before and Noboa, (8% each). Between 1990 reaching the shop (200 km) (Figure top prices. But with the heavy use of and 2000 the value of banana exports fertilisers and pesticides, by 2000 it 4). By the time trucking to and from from the Windward Islands fell from warehouses to stores was added, the had turned itself into the second $387m to $161m. largest coffee-producing country in total distance the food had moved was over 38,000 km, or the equivalent the world. It was so successful, in of travelling around the world once. Since the Second World War, a fact, that it flooded the market just Transporting ingredients such great series of trade talks sought to remove as the Brazilians were also increasing distances makes food supplies barriers to trade by lowering tariffs. their yields as a result of increased vulnerable. From 1947 to 1994 the General intensification and mechanisation. Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) was the forum for global outbreaks of serious diseases such as negotiations. The World Trade From rainforest to chicken foot and mouth. Journeys of 200-400 Organisation (WTO) was established nuggets miles to slaughter are not unusual in 1995, at the end of the Uruguay for animals today The average Round of GATT talks, which were According to a report by journey to abattoir has been held between 1986 and 1994. It is Greenpeace, a small number of the estimated at 100 miles. In order to be now the forum for negotiating world’s largest food companies and transported long distances food must international trade rules. Agriculture commodity traders, including be heavily processed, packaged, or was included in the original GATT McDonald’s in the UK, are driving chemically preserved. talks, but the Uruguay Round’s illegal and rapid destruction of the agreement on agriculture specifically Amazon rainforest. Unfair trade committed countries to lift trade restrictions and abolish distorting The report, a six-year investigation In 2002 Wal-Mart, the world’s subsidies within food production. of the Brazilian soya bean industry, largest retailer, which owns Asda in This has not happened. investigated a 7,000 km chain that the UK, renegotiated its banana starts with the clearing of tropical buying. It invited the biggest LEDCs have been forced to open up rainforest by farmers and leads distributors to bid for a global their markets while rich western directly to Chicken McNuggets Geofile Online © Nelson Thornes 2007
  3. 3. April 2007 no.541 Globalisation of food production being sold in British and European Figure 5: The hidden cost of farming fast food restaurants. It also alleged that much of the soya animal feed • Contamination of drinking water by arriving in the UK from Brazil is a pesticides £120 million product of ‘forest crime’, and that McDonald’s and British nitrates £16 million supermarkets have turned a blind cryptosporidium £23 million eye to the destruction of the forest. phosphates and soil £55 million The Greenpeace report detailed how • Damage to wildlife, habitats, hedgerows the world’s largest private company, and drystone walls £125 million the £40 bn a year US agribusiness • Emission of gases £1,113 million giant Cargill, built a port and 13 soya storage works in the Amazon region. • Soil erosion £106 million In two years, deforestation rates • Food poisoning £169 million doubled to 28,000 hectares (69,000 • BSE £607 million acres) a year, land prices rocketed and soya took off as farmers from all Total £2.3 billion over Brazil arrived to take advantage of guaranteed markets. Cargill export to the UK are women who receive an average of 16 pesticide provides farmers with seeds and have migrated for work. They can sprays. Lettuces can come from Spain, agrochemicals to grow hundreds of work more than 12 hours a day Turkey, Zimbabwe and Mexico are thousands of tonnes of beans a year, harvesting and grading beans, sprayed on average 11.7 times. which the company then exports to carrots, baby corn and other produce Liverpool and other European ports, to fill the crates destined for MEDC Air pollution and greenhouse gas mainly from Santarem, on the supermarkets. emissions from farming cost more Amazon river. than £1.1 bn annually. About 10% of Improved yields and the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions From Liverpool, much of the high- come from the methane from protein soya, which is used as animal environmental impacts livestock digestion and manure and feed, goes to Hereford-based Sun nitrous oxide from fertilised land. In the last 50 years, wheat yields have Valley, a wholly owned Cargill increased from 2.6 to 8 tonnes per subsidiary that rears chickens. The hectare, barley from 2.6 to 5.8 tonnes, company provides McDonald’s, the and each cow produces twice as much Water problems and global farming largest fast food company in the in Kenya milk. world, with up to 50% of all the chicken it serves in Britain and The shores of Lake Naivasha in the Cleaning up the chemical pollution, across Europe. ‘Happy Valley’ area of Kenya are now repairing the habitats and coping with blighted. Environmentalists blame the sickness caused by industrial farming According to Greenpeace, public and water problems on pollution from costs up to £2.3 billion a year (Figure pesticides, excessive use of water on indigenous land is being seized by 5). It now costs water companies the farms, and deforestation caused by farmers using bulldozers and even £135m-£200 million to remove migrant workers in the growing shanty slave labour. In 2005 more than pesticides and nitrates from drinking towns foraging for fuel. 25,000 sq km of Amazon forest were water. felled, largely for soya farming. British and European-owned flower Food processors usually want large companies grow vast quantities of Social impacts quantities of uniform quality produce flowers and vegetables for export but the official Kenyan water authority, The food and farming industry in or animals at specific times. This is regional bodies, human rights and the UK is dependent on migrant ideally suited to intensive farming development groups as well as small- labourers. 25,000 people are allowed methods which favour synthetic scale farmers have accused flower to come to the UK under the chemicals, land degradation and companies near Mount Kenya of government’s seasonal agricultural animal welfare problems. ‘stealing’ water which would normally workers scheme. However, 50,000 fill the river. Kenya’s second largest are needed, according to the Animals are reared on production river, the Ngiro, is a life-sustaining government’s policy commission on lines. About 750 million broiler resource for nomadic farmers, but it chickens are reared and slaughtered in also sustains big business for flower food and agriculture. The need for farms supplying UK supermarkets. labour is no longer confined to Britain each year, 98% of them seasonal peaks, but is year-round. intensively. They spend the last week According to the head of the water Sunday trading, long opening hours of their lives in a space the size of an authority, the twelve largest flower firms and constantly changing orders A4 sheet of paper. The spread of may be taking as much as 25% of means that workers are needed at disease is a problem In two decades, water normally available to more than short notice and for unsocial hours. new production methods have 100,000 small farmers. Locals and increased a dairy cow’s average yield campaigners say the river now peters In parts of Kenya, for example, from 4,000 to 5,800 litres a year. out 60 miles short of where it used to, many of the labourers on the and the overuse of water was intensive vegetable farms and in the The UK now imports four out of every contributing directly to conflict between small-scale farmers. packing factories producing food for five pears consumed. Cox’s apples Geofile Online © Nelson Thornes 2007
  4. 4. April 2007 no.541 Globalisation of food production Figure 6: The spread of Sudan 1 Key 1 Source = Mumbai 2 UK k 3 from UK to: ij a USA b 2 m b Canada l c Bermuda a h d Bahamas g e Antigua f Grenada c g Spain n d 1 h France e i Belgium f j Netherlands k Denmark l Austria m Switzerland n Italy, Greece and Malta GeoFile Series 25 Issue 3 In the last 60 years farmers have India. In 2005 541_06 Mac/eps/illustrator 11 Conclusion Fig 500,000 tonnes of s/s NELSON THORNES PUBLISHING ripped up about 190,000 miles spices were exported to 120 Artist: David Russell Illustration (304,000 km) of hedgerow, destroyed countries at a value of $1.5 billion The consolidation and 97% of meadows, 60% of ancient (£780m). internationalisation of the food retail woodland, and farmland birds have and manufacturing industry can be suffered a catastrophic decline. Birds The 2005 Sudan 1 Crisis related to expected to continue. In the near that depend on agricultural fields one batch of contaminated chilli future, four out of five large retail have fallen in numbers by as much powder containing the Sudan 1 dye. organisations will operate on a as 50% since 1970. In 2002 Volga Spice, an Indian food worldwide scale. There will also be a company, sold five tonnes of chilli number of dominant local and Since 1945 Britain has lost 65% of its powder coloured with Sudan 1 to regional operators. A similar farmers. Now just 1.2% of the Gautam Export, also based in India. situation is likely among the food population work on the land. It is Gautum Export shipped the manufacturers. About 10 food not just in MEDCs. India, with over contaminated powder to Harwich in manufacturers will operate globally, 700,000 small farmers, expects to Essex. From there it was sold to East with 20 to 25 global brands, along lose 50% by 2026. Anglian Food Ingredients based in with a number of consumer goods Essex, and then on to Unbar Rothon companies that will be dominant in It is estimated that a kilogram of in Essex. The powder was sold to particular countries or regions. blueberries imported by plane from Premier Foods Oldham, who in turn New Zealand produces the same distributed it to more than 200 other References emissions as boiling a kettle 268 firms across a dozen countries in Atkins, P., and Bowler I., 2001 Food times. Intensive farming in the UK Europe (Figure 6), and also to North in Society, Arnold. has led to soil erosion and soil loss America and the Caribbean. Over Daniels, P., et al., 2005, An and increased the risk of flooding in 500 food products had to be recalled, introduction to Human geography – some areas by 14%. This has added which revealed just how vulnerable Issues for the 21st century, Pearson. up to £115m to insurance bills. the food chain was to a rogue batch Robinson, G., 2003, Geographies of of contaminated powder. Agriculture, Pearson, Sudan 1 crisis Globalised farming also has an impact on human health. The recall of hundreds of products contaminated with the cancer- Focus Questions causing dye Sudan 1 caused the 1. Explain what is meant by the ‘globalisation of food supply’. biggest food scare since BSE. Sudan 1 is normally used to colour petrol, 2. Suggest ways in which some farmers lose out as a result of globalised solvents and boot polish. The Food farming. Standards Agency has said that while Sudan 1 could increase the 3. Outline the environmental impacts of intensive farming. risk of cancer, the risk is ‘generally likely to be very small’. Nearly half 4. Discuss the social and economic impacts of the globalisation of food of the world’s spices come from production. Geofile Online © Nelson Thornes 2007