The Farmer and the Food Industry in the Food Chain

  • Berkeley Hill
  • Derek Ray


Very little of the food consumed in the UK is produced in its final form by the same people who grow it. Vegetables and fruit grown in domestic gardens fall into this category, but little else. Not much goes straight from farmer to consumer either, although farm shops and Pick-Your-Own are cases where this does happen. About 75 per cent of food produced on farms in Britain is processed in some way before it reaches the consumer, 85 per cent if carcase meat is included.1 Most food passes along some form of food chain, a term used to refer to the different stages through which farm products are gradually transformed into food products. Figure 3.1 illustrates a simplified food chain involving domestic farming, imports, food manufacturers, wholesalers, caterers (probably under-estimated in 1979), retailers and consumers. Food manufacturing embraces processes such as bread-making, meat processing, dairy products, confectionery and many other types of product. Other stages can be found: pre-packers, storers, primary and secondary wholesalers (the former operating between farmers and the next stage, the secondary wholesalers operating between markets of one sort or another and retailers). The term food industry refers to all these elements in the food chain with the exception of the farmer and the consumer. Some elements are private companies but there are also cooperatives, Marketing Boards and Commissions appointed in part at least by government.


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© Berkeley Hill and Derek Ray 1987

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  • Berkeley Hill
  • Derek Ray

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