Thursday, August 13, 2009


Between 2006 and 2008, the prices of commodities like wheat and soybean trebled causing deep dents in the purchasing power of consumers who have been used to cheap foods manufactured by the food industry. The global recession has much to do with dramatic changes and it is unlikely that the prices will go down in future due to supply side constraints. Consumers looking for foods with reduced prices seem to be shifting their allegiance away from the branded products to generic foods offered by small processors because of cost considerations. According to industry sources, consumers are finding it difficult to kick the habits of purchasing low cost foods and organized food industry may have to strive hard to recapture these consumers and their perception is reflected in the following report:

"What consumers really want, though, is to pay less and, unfortunately, sustainability doesn't come cheap. Producing stuff badly is cheaper than producing it well," says Andrew Mitchell, chair of the Forest Footprint Disclosure Project, an initiative designed to force companies to recognise the true cost of agricultural production. "There is no doubt that we are getting food on the cheap," he said".

The tendency to blame countries like India, China and others for the price rise cannot be justified while ignoring the conspicuous consumption habits nurtured in developed countries over the years. Probably the amongst the industry captains in industrialized countries is reflected by their uncalled for comments that high protein diets being consumed by the population in some of the emerging countries is responsible for the steep price in food commodities in their countries which amounts to condemning these populations for their aspirations for a better quality and more safer foods. Probably what is needed is an introspection for taking corrective measures to set right many distortions in the economy of their own country.


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