The Profit Behind Your Plate: Critical Issues in the Processed Food Industry
131 Pages Posted: 18 Aug 2010
Date Written: December 1, 2006
This SOMO report analyses the contribution that primary and full processing of food can make to poverty reduction and sustainable development within the current international context. First, the report provides insights into the level of production, sales and international trade of processed food. Next, it discusses the structural, market, private and government obstacles to exports and the development of a domestic processed food industry in developing countries. The report identifies the many problems which are still not sufficiently addressed in order to make food processing beneficial to all stakeholders and to sustainable development.
However, the report does not focus on the critical issues of farmers and other suppliers to the processed food and drink industry. Processed food and drinks are usually produced in the country or region where it is consumed. Trade in processed food is only 6% of what is consumed worldwide. An important current trend affecting the whole processed food sector is that prices for processed food companies, from the top global brands to small food manufacturers, are under serious pressure from supermarket strategies and supply requirements.
The study aims to provide arguments for civil society organisations to feed the debate on trade and investment, corporate accountability and globalisation. The final chapter provides arguments to make purchasing practices more equitable and give stakeholders more rights to seek remedies against the abuses of foreign food companies and supermarkets.
Keywords: food, processing, drinks, trade, consumption, corporate accountability, globalisation, trade and investment, food companies, supermarkets
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