Advertisement

Agriculture and Human Values

, 26:267 | Cite as

Towards a third food regime: behind the transformation

  • David BurchEmail author
  • Geoffrey Lawrence
Article

Abstract

Food regime theory focuses upon the dynamics, and agents, of change in capitalist food and farming systems. Its exponents have been able to identify relatively stable periods of capital accumulation in the agri-food industries, along with the periods of transition. Recently, scholars have argued that—following a first food regime based upon colonial trade in bulk commodities like wheat and sugar, and a second food regime typified by industrial agriculture and manufactured foods—there is an emerging third food regime. This new regime is one that is lead by global corporations that are profiting from the re-organisation of agri-food chains. The delivery of ‘fresh/healthy’ foods is one manifestation; another is the sale, by supermarkets, of ready-meals and other own-brand products. This paper argues that behind the movement to a putative Third Food Regime are changes to the financial system. ‘Financialisation’—the increased influence of finance capital on the agri-food system—not only provides new opportunities for profit-making by hedge funds and private equity consortia, but also creates a situation in which agri-food companies, including food manufacturers, international commodity traders and supermarkets, may benefit. Supermarkets for example, are moving into banking, and are altering their role as they move from being retailers of products, into the provision of capital. Food regime theory needs to consider what lies ‘behind’ the transformation of food and fibre production, to examine not only the role of finance capital in re-shaping relations up and down the agri-food supply chain, but also investigating the tendency for agri-food capitals to seek profits from financial transactions.

Keywords

Food regimes Agri-food theory Supermarkets Financialisation Fresh and healthy foods Own brand foods 

References

  1. Addison, K. 2009. Rice land grabs undermine food sovereignty in Africa. http://www.mailarchive.com/sustainablelorgbiofuel@sustainablelists.org/msg760.html. Accessed 24 Mar 2009.
  2. Allbusiness. 2005. Wal-Mart creates private equity fund to boost supplier diversity. http://www.allbusiness.com/retail-trade/food-stores/4259569-1.html. Accessed 19 Mar 2009.
  3. Allen, F., E. Carletti, and R. Marquez. 2007. Stakeholder capitalism, corporate governance and firm value. European Corporate Governance Institute—Finance Research Paper Series No. 190. http://www.ecgi.org. Accessed 20 June 2008.
  4. BBC News. 2007. China buys $3bn. Blackstone stake, May 21. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/6675453.stm Accessed 23 Mar 2009.
  5. Behind the Buyouts. 2008. Kohlberg, Kravis, Roberts and Company (KKR), a project of the Service Union Employees International Union. http://www.behindthebuyouts.org/kkr/. Accessed 3 April 2009.
  6. Berle, A., and G. Means. 1932. The modern corporation and private property. London: Harcourt, Brace and World.Google Scholar
  7. Beverage Daily. 2005. Cadbury Schweppes sells European soft drinks arm. http://www.beveragedaily.com/Financial/Cadbury-Schweppes-sells-European-soft-drinks-arm. Accessed 19 Mar 2009.
  8. Braithwaite, J. 2008. Regulatory capitalism: How it works, ideas for making it better. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
  9. Burch, D. 2007. Private equity companies and the agri-food sector. Agri-food Research Network Annual Conference, University of Queensland, Nov 25–29.Google Scholar
  10. Burch, D., and G. Lawrence. 2005. Supermarket own brands, supply chains and the transformation of the agri-food system. International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture and Food 13(1): 1–18.Google Scholar
  11. Burch, D., and G. Lawrence. 2007. Supermarket own brands, new foods and the reconfiguration of agri-food supply chains. In Supermarkets and agri-food supply chains: Transformations in the production and consumption of foods, ed. D. Burch, and G. Lawrence, 100–128. London: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
  12. Burch, D., and G. Lawrence. 2009. The ‘wellness’ phenomenon: Implications for global agri-food systems. In Food security, nutrition and sustainability: New challenges, future options, ed. G. Lawrence, K. Lyons, and T. Wallington. London: Earthscan.Google Scholar
  13. Cargill. 2006. LaCrosse Global Fund Services launches as independent hedge fund service provider and administrator, Oct 17. http://www.allbusiness.com/personal-finance/investing/3913250-1.html.
  14. Citywire. 2007. Troubled Sainsbury bank becomes joint venture with HBOS, Feb 9.Google Scholar
  15. Commodity Online. 2009. IFC provides $75m support for Altima Fund, Feb 16. http://www.commodityonline.com/news/IFC-provides-$75-mn-support-for-Altima-Agri-Fund-15218-3-1.html. Accessed 30 Mar 2009.
  16. Commonwealth of Australia. 2007. Senate standing committee on economics: Private equity investment in Australia. Canberra: AGPS.Google Scholar
  17. Daily Mail. 2008. Big names wait even longer to pay their bills threatening future of thousands of small suppliers, Oct 22.Google Scholar
  18. Dow Jones Newswires. 2007. Blackstone Group rallies 15% on NYSE, June 23.Google Scholar
  19. EAM (Emergent Asset Management) 2009a. African land fund. http://www.eaml.net/templates/Emergent/content.asp?PageId=296. Accessed 9 Mar 2009.
  20. EAM (Emergent Asset Management). 2009b. Emergent news. http://www.eaml.net/templates/Emergent/news.asp?PageID=304. Accessed 19 Mar 2009.
  21. Epstein, G. 2002. Financialization, rentier interests and central bank policy. Political Economy Research Institute Conference on Financialization in the World Economy, Dec 7–8, Amherst, Mass. http://www.peri.umass.edu/fileadmin/pdf/financial/fin_Epstein.pdf. Accessed 24 May 2009.
  22. Eurofood. 2009. Premier Foods unveils key to financial resilience, Mar 11.Google Scholar
  23. Financial Times. 2008a. Profiting from food crisis can be hard to stomach, April 26.Google Scholar
  24. Financial Times. 2008b. Somerfield sellers doubled initial investment, July 16.Google Scholar
  25. Financial Times. 2008c. Private equity funds focus on distressed debt, Aug 12.Google Scholar
  26. Friedland, W. 2004. Agrifood globalization and commodity systems. International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture and Food 12: 1–12.Google Scholar
  27. Friedmann, H. 2005. From colonialism to green capitalism: Social movements and emergence of food regimes. In New directions in the sociology of global development, ed. F. Buttel, and P. McMichael, 227–264. Amsterdam: Elsevier.Google Scholar
  28. Galbraith, J. 1967. The new industrial state. London: Hamish Hamilton.Google Scholar
  29. Glyn, A., and B. Sutcliffe. 1972. British capitalism, workers and the profits squeeze. Harmondsworth: Penguin.Google Scholar
  30. Goodman, D., and M. Redclift. 1991. The international farm crisis. London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  31. Goodman, D., and M. Watts. 1994. Reconfiguring the rural, or fording the divide? Journal of Peasant Studies 22(1): 1–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Goodwin, M. 2006. Regulating rurality? Rural studies and the regulation approach. In Handbook of rural studies, ed. P. Cloke, T. Marsden, and P. Mooney, 304–316. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  33. Grocer. 2007. Will refinance plan put an end to break-up speculation? June 2.Google Scholar
  34. Heynen, N., J. McCarthy, S. Prudham, and P. Robbins. 2007. Introduction: False promises. In Neoliberal environments: False promises and unnatural consequences, ed. N. Heynen, J. McCarthy, S. Prudham, and P. Robbins, 1–21. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  35. IFSL Research. 2008. International financial markets in the UK. http://www.ifsl.org.uk?research/upload/IFM_IN_THE_UK_05_2008.pdf. Accessed 27 May 2008.
  36. Insurance Business Review. 2007. Tesco sells 16 stores to BA pension fund. http://www.insurance-business-review.com/article_news.asp?guid=77CFAC6D-7B1C-426F-A97F-BBC68ADA07C8. Accessed 22 July 2008.
  37. International Herald Tribune. 2008. Demand for food has big investors betting the farm, June 6.Google Scholar
  38. Investment Week. 2008. Schroders launch agricultural land trust, July 7.Google Scholar
  39. IUF (International Union of Foodworkers). 2007a. Private equity’s growing reach in food testing. http://www.iufdocuments.org/buyoutwatch/2007/12/private_equitys_growing_reach.html. Accessed 20 June 2008.
  40. IUF (International Union of Foodworkers). 2007b. Private equity advances in agriculture. http://www.iufdocuments.org/buyoutwatch/2007/09/private_equity_advances_in_agr.html. Accessed 20 June 2008.
  41. Krippner, G. 2005. The financialisation of the American economy. Socio-Economic Review 3: 173–208.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Le Heron, R., and M. Roche. 1995. A ‘Fresh’ place in food’s space. Area 27(1): 23–33.Google Scholar
  43. Le Heron, R., and M. Roche. 1996. Globalisation, sustainability and apple orcharding, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand. Economic Geography 72: 376–397.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Loewenberg, S. 2008. Global food crisis looks set to continue. The Lancet 327(9645): 1209–1210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Lucarelli, B. 2008. The United States Empire of debt: The roots of the current financial crisis. Journal of Australian Political Economy 62: 16–38.Google Scholar
  46. Matthews, R. 1998. The myth of global competition and the nature of work. Journal of Organizational Change Management 2(5): 378–398.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. McMichael, P. 2005. Global development and the corporate food regime. In New directions in the sociology of global development, ed. F. Buttel, and P. McMichael, 265–299. Amsterdam: Elsevier.Google Scholar
  48. McMichael, P., and H. Friedmann. 2007. Situating the retailing revolution. In Supermarkets and agri-food supply chains: Transformations in the production and consumption of foods, ed. D. Burch, and G. Lawrence, 291–319. London: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
  49. Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal. 2006. Cargill hedge fund targets $4 billion for investments, Nov 3.Google Scholar
  50. Newcastle Chronicle and Journal. 2005. Grocery chain sales backed, Oct 15.Google Scholar
  51. O’Neill, P. 2001. Financial narratives of the modern corporation. Journal of Economic Geography 1: 181–199.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Pechlaner, G., and G. Otero. 2008. The third food regime: Neoliberal globalism and agricultural biotechnology in North America. Sociologia Ruralis 48(4): 351–371.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Pike, A. 2006. ‘Shareholder value’ versus the regions: The closure of the Vaux Brewery in Sunderland. Journal of Economic Geography 6(2): 201–222.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Plender, J. 2003. Going off the rails: Global capital and the crisis of legitimacy. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  55. Pritchard, W. 1998. The emerging contours of the third food regime: Evidence from Australian dairy and wheat sectors. Economic Geography 74(1): 64–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Pritchard, W. 1999. Switzerland’s billabong? Brand management in the global food system and Nestle Australia. In Restructuring global and regional agriculture: Transformations in Australasian agri-food economies and spaces, ed. D. Burch, J. Goss, and G. Lawrence, 23–40. Aldershot: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  57. Property Week. 2007. Somerfield’s £1.3bn. supermarket switch, June 8.Google Scholar
  58. Reuters. 2008. Louis Dreyfus commodities completes initial equity financing for Calyx Agro. http://www.reuters.com/article/pressRelease/idUS246112+13-May-2008+PRN20080513. Accessed 19 Mar 2009.
  59. Reuters. 2009. Tesco plans bank branches in 30 stores, Mar 29. http://uk.reuters.com/article/businessNews/idUKTRE52S0O320090329. Accessed 2 April 2009.
  60. Rossman, P. 2007. The impact of leverage buyouts in the European food industry. Paper delivered at the Private equity funds: The harsh realities seminar, European Parliament, Brussels, April 19. http://www.iufdocuments.org/www/documents/PSE%20presentation%2019-04-07. Accessed 24 May 2009.
  61. Rossman, P., and G. Greenfield. 2006. Financialisation: New routes to profit, new challenges for trade unions. Geneva: Global Labour Institute and the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations.Google Scholar
  62. Ruggie, J. 2003. Taking embedded liberalism global. In Taming globalization: Frontiers of governance, ed. D. Held, and M. Koenig-Archibugi, 93–129. Cambridge: Polity.Google Scholar
  63. Smithfield Foods. 2009. Company directors. http://investors.smithfieldfoods.com/directors.cfm. Accessed 19 Mar 2009.
  64. South China Morning Post. 2008. Goldman Sachs pays US$300m for poultry farms, Aug 4.Google Scholar
  65. Stilwell, F. 2002. Political economy: The contest of economic ideas. Melbourne: Oxford.Google Scholar
  66. The Age. 2006. Woolworths to sell distribution centres, June 14.Google Scholar
  67. The Australian. 2008. Woolies ready to cash in on card, August 19.Google Scholar
  68. The Economist. 2007a. The world’s most expensive club. http://www.economist.com/finance/displaystory.cfm?story_id=9230598. Accessed 18 July 2008.
  69. The Economist. 2007b. The New Rothschilds, 27 Sept.Google Scholar
  70. The Guardian. 2008. Financial Services: Tesco pays £950 m to buy out RBS stake in bank, July 29.Google Scholar
  71. The Guardian. 2009a. Private equity buys 10% slice of Premier Foods, Mar 5.Google Scholar
  72. The Guardian. 2009b. Firms’ secret tax avoidance schemes cost UK billions, Feb 3.Google Scholar
  73. Tickell, A. 2006. Global financial architecture transitions: Mutations through ‘roll-back’ neoliberalism to technocratic fixes. In Globalization’s contradictions: Geographies of discipline, destruction and transformation, ed. D. Conway, and N. Heynen, 39–48. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  74. Toronto Globe and Mail. 2008. Feeding frenzy, 31 May.Google Scholar
  75. UKDATA. 2008. Black River Asset Management: Full report. London: UKDATA.Google Scholar
  76. United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). 2009. The environmental food crisis: The environment’s role in averting future food crises. Geneva: UNEP.Google Scholar
  77. Vaitsos, C. 1972. Patents re-visited: Their function in developing countries. The Journal of Development Studies 9: 71–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Wahl, P. 2009. Food speculation: The main factor of the price bubble of 2008. Berlin: World Economy, Ecology and Development.Google Scholar
  79. Wall Street Journal. 2008. Has the financial industry’s heyday come and gone? April 28.Google Scholar
  80. Washington Post. 2008. Sovereign funds become big speculators; pools of foreign wealth move into commodities, Aug 12.Google Scholar
  81. Williams, K. 2000. From shareholder value to present day capitalism. Economy and Society 29(1): 1–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Winson, A. 1993. The intimate commodity. Ontario: Garamond Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Biomolecular and Physical SciencesGriffith UniversityNathan, BrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.School of Social ScienceThe University of QueenslandSt. Lucia, BrisbaneAustralia

Personalised recommendations