With the development of market relations, the target sectors for marketing the products are broadened, and new markets are penetrated. This also resulted in appearance of new sources of different products.
With food products coming from other countries, we raise not only questions of manufacturing practices and methods used for producing them, but also their positive and negative impacts on society up to the moment when they reach our tables. In order to come to terms with how globalized the food market has become, we aim at examining two meals and the sources of their constituent products.
1. Case study
Meals under analysis in the case study are breakfast and dinner. Breakfast consists of a few strips of bacon, toasted wheat bread, two eggs, some fruit juice and a cup of white coffee. Dinner consists of macaroni, green beans, steak and beef stew soup, spinach and fruit juice. Constituent components that are locally produced are eggs, spinach and fruit juice, but even these are transported over long distances.
The wheat required for making bread comes from Canada. The coffee is imported from the South America, particularly from Columbia or Brazil. The macaroni are imported ready made from Italy, while the beef comes from Argentina.
Though these products are not domestic and were produced outside the country, they can be easily found at the local Wal-Mart store. Groceries and other supplementary products are available at the local market. Both local and imported products begin start their way to out tables from farm harvesting or slaughtering.
Then the products are sorted and packaged at a farm, at a factory or elsewhere. The locally produced goods are distributed throughout the country, while those from other countries are imported and then distributed locally to retail stores where they can be bought. These products finish their way on the tables in our households, having travelled hundreds of miles and changed hands several times.
2. Positive impacts of global market
The importance of global market can be explained considering its growth and rapid spread. The global market was advantageous for the food sector, solving certain supply and demand problems of particular food products. One of its benefits according to Kloppenburg, Hendrickson and Stevenson (1996) is the availability of food at all times by taking advantage of the tropical climate zones where food can be grown all year round and not on a seasonal basis (p. 4).
This is beneficial in terms of ensuring that food supply is virtually guaranteed regardless of the season. It also enables countries or certain regions to specialize in specific products and receive profits from trading them.
Another benefit of the global market is the penetration of local goods into wider markets. It is advantageous for both suppliers and consumers as it creates a source of income and providing an opportunity to choose. Consumers will give preference to new products if they are healthier or cheaper alternatives.
In other words, it is helpful for avoiding monotony of the diets, stimulating infrastructural development in the countries that produce and market the goods. Over time, these producers gain a steady source of income while consumers integrate a new product into the diet. Generally speaking, global market creates better competitive conditions, improving the process of the product manufacturing.
3. Negative impacts of global market
Globalization of the food market is disadvantageous particularly with regard to environment. This relates mainly to transportation of the products and also in the manufacture procedures. Methods of cultivating the land and preparing products for long-lasting transportation, for example, using pesticides or other harmful ingredients, have a direct impact on the environment.
The fuel burnt in the process of transportation of these goods pollutes the environment in the long term. Kloppenburg, Hendrickson and Stevenson (1996) pointed out the fact that this agriculture degrades the soil and water resources (p. 5).
Competitive edge created by imported products destroys the local industries, as it was observed by Kloppenburg, Hendrickson and Stevenson (1996, p. 4). Local retailers prefer products that are reliable thereby suitable for the international supply.
Thereby, the local markets are destabilized, and people lose their jobs since their companies cannot compete with the international retailers. This may also ultimately result in production of substandard products and abuse of employees working in the food production industry in the countries aiming at higher profits.
4. Think globally, act locally
Every country has to impose measures for creating the friendly environment on the global level; appropriate regulations need to be incorporated into the state policies. This entails observing local actions that can be taken to ensure the well being of the environment.
The program should start at home with the products you use and the steps taken to conserve energy for improvement of the environment. According to Trefil and Hazen (2007) people should first try to do their part in the conservation of the environment, and then call for solving the problem on the global level (pp. 114-127).
The phrase also means that people should critically evaluate the consequences of the market globalization, availability of imported goods, particularly their impact on the environment. This should then spur on people to try and opt for the local products gradually building up on the usage (Time Inc., 2010, pp. 1-2). Acting locally presupposes looking for local solutions aimed at contribute to solving global problems and trying to strike the right balance between the market globalization and protecting the environment.
While it is clear the global food market has a negative impact on the environment, the solutions to the problems are not that easy as they may seem. The global food market should also be viewed from the economic perspective where specialization has eroded self-sustenance with trade as the priority for use in uplifting the developing countries.
It is then rather unwise to view the aspect with regard to the environment alone when we risk destroying whole communities’ livelihoods that we encouraged as the developed world to rely on us through trade.
While an individual consumer will probably not think twice when purchasing the imported products, authorities should ensure that proper methods of production and transportation are deployed, taking into consideration the issue of environmental conservation. Use of greener energy may become the way out for the purpose of balancing the issues of the environmental protection and gaining the financial profits.
Efforts in trying to pull out the global market are laudable but the chances of success where the tangible results are in the long term are slim (Time Inc., 2010, pp. 1-2), on the other hand, measures that need to be imposed for protecting the environment are costly but mandatory.
Kloppenburg, J., Hendrickson, J. J. & Stevenson, G. W. (1996). Coming in to the foodshed: Agriculture and human values. Retrieved September 4, 2010, from http://www.cias.wisc.edu/wp-content/uploads/2008/07/comingin.pdf
Time Inc. (2010). Local-food movement: The Lure of the 100-mile diet. Retrieved September 4, 2010, from http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1200783-1,00.html
Trefil, J. & Hazen, R. M. (2007). The sciences: An integrated approach. New York: John Wiley & Sons Inc.