SOC 2080 Mar.22.docx

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22 Mar 2012
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Spatial Colonization of Food Environments
-central contradiction: degradation of diets amid unprecedented cornucopia of healthy foodstuffs
presently available to many
-argument: “spatial colonization” of “pseudo food” corporations help us understand this contradiction->
policies to address current health crisis
Historical context:
-prolonged process of enclosure/urbanization -> breakdown of unity of production/consumption
-> declining control over food -> possibilities for restructuring diets
-shifting trend in food consumption -> for profit sphere (further loss of control over
preparation/ingredient quality)
-critical concepts: pseudo foods, differential profits, market concentration, mass advertising and product
differentiation, spatial colonization
Pseudo Foods
-high sugar/fat/salt, low in protein, vitamins and minerals [exceptions]
-don’t help with your health in any way
-sugar or fat as first or second ingredient
-more including concepts that “junk foods”. Why? –there are food in supermarkets that ppl don’t
consider junk food but still don’t do any good for your health
i.e. many “juice products” pre-sweetened breakfast cereals
Differential Profits
-low profit “commodity items”: bread, milk, eggs, etc. -> loss leaders [to get you in the store]
-high profit value added products: prep dinners, frozen fast food, “pseudo food” [confectionaries,
chocolate bars, salty snacks, ice cream, snacks etc.]
-confectionary having among highest gross margins
-salty snacks reported as second most profitable category
Frito Lay’s Claim: 11% of operating product; and 40% profit gross
Corporate Concentration and Mass Advertising
-breakfast cereal industry- 4 firms have over 90% of control in 70’s
-snack food industry in Canada- 4 firms have 90% control by 90’s
-soft drink industry- duopoly of Pepsi/Coke
-new transnational joint ventures: Pepsi & Nestle
-enhanced market power
-by 80’s of 1,100 food firms using national advertising media, only 12 account for 45% of advertising
-of 33 billion spent on ads by food corps, in 2000, 70% spent on “convenience foods, candy and snacks,
alcohol, soft drinks and desserts- 2.2% spent on fruits and vegetables, grains and beans
-total USA ad expenditures of top 10 junk food/beverage, fast food corporations in 2004 =
$7,616,600,000 in advertising
[McDonalds, PepsiCo, Nestle, Yum Brands [KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, A&W] Mars, Burger King, Coca-
Cola, Sara Lee, Wendy’s, Cadbury Schweppes]
-this is 119 times greater than total ad budget for USA department of health/human services
Spatial Colonization
-how industry consent, mass advertisement, differential profits effect the spatial organization of food
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