Agriculture and Human Values

, Volume 30, Issue 2, pp 215–224 | Cite as

Introduction to symposium on the changing role of supermarkets in global supply chains: from seedling to supermarket: agri-food supply chains in transition

  • David Burch
  • Jane DixonEmail author
  • Geoffrey Lawrence


In the mid-1970s there was a widespread view that the full vertical integration of agriculture was occurring, with food production, distribution, and retailing coming to be organized on a global scale by the major food manufacturers such as Nestle, Heinz and Unilever. One large US conglomerate, Tenneco, claimed it would own and control all of its agri-food operations from ‘seedling to supermarket’ (Anonymous 1975). The prospect of such a level of corporate control over the food industry created academic debate about: industry profiteering; the implications for consumer sovereignty of food industry mergers and acquisitions; the future role of the ‘family farmer’; and, the impacts on rural communities, consumers, and the environment (Bonanno et al. 1994; Heffernan et al. 1999; for Australia, see Burch and Lawrence 2005; Burch et al. 1996; Lawrence 1987; Lockie and Pritchard 2001). However, while the horizontal and vertical integration of agri-food industries has occurred,...


Supply Chain Food System Private Equity Credit Default Swap Global Supply Chain 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This study was part-funded by the Australian Research Council (Project Nos. DP 0773092 and DP 110102299). Professor Lawrence was also part-funded by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF-2010-330-00159) and the Norwegian Research Council. We are grateful to Harvey James for support throughout the assembling of this Symposium, and the anonymous reviewers for each of the papers. We also thank Amy MacMahon for undertaking the final formatting of the papers in this collection.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Social ScienceThe University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.Australian National UniversityCanberraAustralia

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