Concentration and Power in the Food System: Who Controls What We Eat? - Contemporary Food Studies: Economy, Culture and Politics (Paperback)
  • Concentration and Power in the Food System: Who Controls What We Eat? - Contemporary Food Studies: Economy, Culture and Politics (Paperback)
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Concentration and Power in the Food System: Who Controls What We Eat? - Contemporary Food Studies: Economy, Culture and Politics (Paperback)

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Paperback 216 Pages / Published: 25/02/2016
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Nearly every day brings news of another merger or acquisition involving the companies that control our food supply. Just how concentrated has this system become? At almost every key stage of the food system, four firms alone control 40% or more of the market, a level above which these companies have the power to drive up prices for consumers and reduce their rate of innovation. Researchers have identified additional problems resulting from these trends, including negative impacts on the environment, human health, and communities. This book reveals the dominant corporations, from the supermarket to the seed industry, and the extent of their control over markets. It also analyzes the strategies these firms are using to reshape society in order to further increase their power, particularly in terms of their bearing upon the more vulnerable sections of society, such as recent immigrants, ethnic minorities and those of lower socioeconomic status. Yet this study also shows that these trends are not inevitable. Opposed by numerous efforts, from microbreweries to seed saving networks, it explores how such opposition has encouraged the most powerful firms to make small but positive changes.

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
ISBN: 9781472581112
Number of pages: 216
Weight: 361 g
Dimensions: 234 x 156 x 10 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
The book is fun to read . . . and, obviously, well illustrated. If you want to know how current-day food markets really work, this is the place to start. -- Marion Nestle, NYU
...this book is an excellent introductory text to food systems...Everything from the language and quotes Howard uses to the diversity of examples discussed makes Concentration and Power in the Food System an intense yet enjoyable read. Overall, this short book is packed with so much information and different points of discussion that it not only leaves readers impassioned, but also hungry for more. -- Kathleen Chiappetta * LSE Review of Books *
This will clearly be a major touchstone in the critical food studies field...One of the great contributions of this book is that, in synthesizing the field so effectively, it sets into relief some of the most salient questions in food systems scholarship today. -- Amy Guptill, State University of New York, co-author of Food and Society
[Concentration and Power in the Food System] is accessible to any reader interested in learning how political economy can help us understand who really does control what we eat. And as the food industry continues to consolidate, Howard's work will become increasingly vital to imagining an economy with open, competitive markets for farmers and eaters alike. -- Leah Douglas * Washington Monthly *
Howard provides an excellent introduction to the alarming lack of competition in today's food production system. The fact that much of this food system concentration is intentionally behind the scenes-only a few companies own many brand names and operate through multiple subsidiaries-often renders the public unaware of this monopoly. The book begins with retailers and moves down through the food chain, with chapters devoted to distributors, processors, and finally, the farm. Additional chapters cover agricultural inputs such as seeds and pesticides, commodity pricing, and organic food production. Written in an academic yet eminently accessible style, the text is well researched and documented. Chapter references and a comprehensive index are at the end of the work. Points are illustrated with clear graphics and comprehensible tables. Current examples featuring larger, well-known corporations add to the text's relevance and readability. Non-polemical and jargon-free, this is a concise and concerning look at the ever-increasing food system concentration in the US and the global food supply chain. Summing Up: Recommended. All readers. * CHOICE *
In a systematic and sophisticated manner grounded in political economy Concentration and Power in the Food System pulls back the curtain on the often hidden processes by which agribusiness employs its economic power to influence the state apparatus and thereby secure and advance its agenda to enhance market share and suppress resistance. ... The book deftly documents how the processes of vertical, horizontal, and concentric integration expand the breadth and depth of agribusiness consolidation. -- Douglas H. Constance * Rural Sociology *
The accessibility of the language, paired with rigorous analysis and sturdy methodology make Concentration and Power in the Food System a must-read for those who seek a better understanding of how corporations consolidate power in the food system. -- Lisa F. Clark * Cuizine *
Howard has written an excellent book that is very informative. It is relevant also for the European reader, at least as a possible future scenario for the European agri-foodsystem. * Radix *
Concentration and Power in the Food System challenges us to think about the broader consequences of corporate control over the food we eat ... excellent and engaging. * Global Environmental Politics *

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