Sociology of food

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Sociology of food is the study of food as it relates to the history, progression, and future development of society. This includes production, consumption, distribution, conflict, medical application, ritual, spiritual, ethical, and cultural applications, environmental and labour issues.

The aspect of food distribution in our society can be examined through the analysis of the changes in the food supply chain. Globalization in particular, has significant effects on the food supply chain by enabling scale effect in the food distribution industry.

'There are a number of social factors which have contributed to the resurgence of interest in the sociology of food and eating at this juncture. The globalization of the food supply and increasing access to information has contributed to increased risk consciousness with regards to food, with recent scares dominating news media'[1]

Food Distribution[edit]

Impact from scale effects[edit]

Scale effects resulting from centralized acquisition purchase centres in the food supply chain favor large players such as big retailers or distributors in the food distribution market. This is due to the fact that they can utilize their strong market power and financial advantage over smaller players. Having both strong market power and greater access to the financial credit market meant that they can impose barriers to entry and cement their position in the food distribution market. This would result in a food distribution chain that is characterized by large players on one end and small players choosing niche markets to operate in on the other end. The existence of smaller players in specialized food distribution markets could be attributed to their shrinking market share and their inability to compete with the larger players due to the scale effects. Through this mechanism, globalization has displaced smaller role players.[2] Another mechanism troubling the specialized food distribution markets is the ability of distribution chains to possess their own brand. Stores with their own brand are able to combat price wars between competitors by lowering the price of their own brand, thus making consumers more likely to purchase goods from them.[3]

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ Ward, P., Coveney, J. and Henderson, J., Editorial: A sociology of food and eating.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ MANUEL BELO MOREIRA, Changes in Food Chains in the Context of Globalization, Int. Jrnl. of Soc. of Agr. & Food, Vol. 18, No. 2, pp. 134–148
  3. ^ Vizard, Sarah. "Supermarkets' new price war risks damaging relations with food brands and consumers." Marketing Week Online 24 Apr. 2014. General OneFile. Web. 5 Nov. 2015.

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