‘Big Food’—The Industrial Food System

  • Sue BoothEmail author
  • John Coveney
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Public Health book series (BRIEFSPUBLIC)


For many consumers, the industrial food system must appear as a bountiful enigma. Increasingly, food is available 24 h a day, 7 days a week. Gone are the days in the 1970s when Australian supermarkets were only open on Saturdays until 12 noon. Shelves are restocked nightly, and consumers are lured with attractive end-of-aisle displays, encouraging persuasive discretionary purchases. Celebratory foods such as traditional hot cross buns make an appearance in supermarkets in late January, months before Easter. Food production is neither bound by climatic nor seasonal rhythms; indeed, it appears as if to defy nature. It is possible to buy south-east Asian tropical fruit and Queensland strawberries from a supermarket in the depths of a Melbourne winter. Storms, cyclones and other natural weather events, may wipe out a staple crop such as bananas in Queensland, but this poses little difficulty. Under the fluorescent lights of the fruit and vegetable section, local supermarket shelves are filled with bananas produced in New South Wales. The disconnect between the reality of the natural world and the supermarket offerings results in consumers being ‘divorced’ from the food supply.


Supply Chain Food System Shelf Space Large Portion Size Consumer Commission 
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Further Reading—The Industrial Food System

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  3. Hattersley L, Isaac B, Burch D (2013) Supermarket power, own labels and manufacturer counterstrategies: International relations of cooperation and competition in the fruit canning industry. Agric Hum Values 30(2):225–233CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Lang T (2003) Food industrialization and food power: implications for food governance. Dev Policy Rev 21(5–6):555–568CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Discipline of Public Health, School of Health SciencesFlinders UniversityAdelaideAustralia
  2. 2.School of Health SciencesFlinders UniversityAdelaideAustralia

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