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Lecture 8


Course Code
SOC 2080
Anthony Winson

of 6
Tuesday, March 3, 2015
SOC 2080
Lecture: Spatial Colonization
-central contractions: degradations of diets amid unprecedented cornucopia of healthy
foodstuffs presently available to many.
argument: “spacial colonization” of pseudo food cooperations 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.
-consuming what they produce -> being pushed into the city they have less control
over what they eat.
-shifting trend in food consumption: not for profit (home) -> for profit sphere (further
loss of control over preparation/ingredient quality)
Critical Concepts:
-pseudo foods (anti nutrient, or poor), differential profits, market concentrations, mass
advertising and product differentiation, spacial colonization.
-most cannot digest lactose after 5 years of age and the animal kingdom does not
consume milk either.
-pop is known as liquid candy (18 t spoons)
Pseudo Foods
-high in sugar/fat/salt, low in protein, vitamins and minerals (exceptions)
-sugar or fat as the first or second ingredient
-more inclusive concept than junk foods - why?
-many “juice” products - they are full of sugar
-pre sweetened breakfast cereals
Differential Profits
-low profit commodity items: bread, milk, eggs corn.
-high profit value added products: prep. dinners, frozen fast food, chocolate bars,
chips, ice cream and salty snacks.
-confectionary having among highest gross margins
Tuesday, March 3, 2015
-salty snacks are reported as the second most profitable category.
-FRITO LAY: 11% and 40% gov. profit
Cooperate Concentrations and Mass Advertising
-breakfast cereal industry - 4 firms have 91% of control by early 70’s in the US
-snack food industry in canada - owned by 4 firms have 90% control by the 90’s
-soft drink - duopoly of pepsi and coke
-new transitional joint ventures - pepsi - nestle (biggest one in the world)
-enhanced market power!!
-by the 80’s, of 1,000 food firms, only 12 of those accounted for 45% of the
-of 33 billion spend on adds in 2000, 70% is spent on bad things while the 2.2% is
based on fruits, veggies and grains
-add expenditures of the top 10 fast food cooperations in 2004 = 7.6 billion - at the
time this was 119x greater than the total add budget for the US health department
which was 64.5 million
how does this distort the food environment?
Spacial Colonization: how the industry connect, mass advertising, differential profits
effects the spacial organization of food environments that can affect the world’s mass
diets in regards of all of these factors coming together.
-to translate manufactured demand (our needs) into sales -> necessary to secure
physical visibility and availability of products within the food environments
salt fat and sweet are food enhancers!
1. Colonization of prime real estate
-modus operandi of fast food
-high traffic urban and suburban streets
-high traffic private and public institutional space: shopping malls, airports, banks!!,
schools, hospitals and universities.
2. Colonization via control of prime retail space (e.g supermarkets)
-shelf space, the end of the aisle, spacial display zones
-the LYFE strategy
*view quote on confectionary by canadian grocer kahane in 2000 and the one of nestle
and jacobson in 2000
Tuesday, March 3, 2015
we are in the business to make money and not to promote healthy
hyper colonization of pseudo foods: the c store phenomenon (convinience chain stores)
70% or more of shelf space is devoted to pseudo foods.
The Canadian Scene:
-no school lunch program unlike many of the developed wealthy countries
-surveys of what was offered demonstrated sad state of school food environments
your experience?
-schools are under a lot of pressure - they do not have the money
Colonization of Public Sector Space
-institutions such as schools, hospitals and universities
School Food Environments
-the canadian scene:
stats on overwheight, obesity and related diseases among children and youth
looming costs to health care budgets (now 42% of ontario total prov. budget)
provinces galvanized into action: radical reform of school food guidelines
will it work? - there are some big issues to resolve
Let’s rethink this…
-in a free market economy, if people really wanted good food wouldn’t the market
provide it?
-but, concentration of pseudo food companies -> extraordinary market power ->
aggressively advertising to youth -> shaping eating habits -> colonizing food
environments -> lobbying gov to prevent legislation against nutrient poor products
-isn’t it basically about colonizing our food environments and who gets to do it AND
with what? - NO
Spacial Colonization on a global scale:
-2 principle vectors from late 90’s - present
-fast food transnational investments in china, latin america and eastern europe
-global supermarket chains in latin america, asia, eastern europe and afirica: there is
fast control of food retail business
-mexico: 45% argentina 57% chile 50% and brazil is 75%