New lands of the free

New lands of the fat?

 
Last Updated: Sunday 28 June 2015 | 11:25:17 AM

New lands of the free

-- This becomes possible via increasing incomes and more urbanised lifestyles, but also food marketing channels and techniques

A shift in diet towards high-fat, refined carbohydrates and low-fibres. The diet becomes more energy-dense: people get most of the calories their bodies require from fewer foods. The diet becomes rich in fat, especially saturated fat, and sugar, but deficient in complex carbohydrate foods that are the main source of dietary fibre.

The dietary transition is inseparable from the insertion of countries into the circuits of global trade in food. The global value of trading in food increased from US $224 billion in 1972 to US $438 billion in 1998; food now constitutes 11 per cent of global trade.

This increase has been accompanied by the consolidation of agricultural and food companies into large transnational corporations. Apart from globally sourcing supplies, centralising strategic assets, resources and decision-making, these corporations penetrate new markets by purchasing large and often majority shares into local food producers, wholesalers or retailers. This process has now been canonised into law: World Trade Organization agreements place great pressure on developing countries to 'structurally adjust' markets.

Developing countries passing through the dietary transition face a double burden. Malnutrition takes on a double face. On the one hand, undernutrition; on the other, overnutrition and its equally debilitating health effects

Agribusiness top 8, 1998
Sales
(US $ billion)
Profits
(US $ billion)
Chief products
Philip Morris
56.11
6.31
Tobacco, cereals, beverages
Cargill
51.00
4.68
Cereals, seeds, oils, beverages
Unilever
50.06
7.94
Oils, dairy, beverages, meals
Nestlé
49.96
4.11
Beverages, cereals, infant food
Pepsico
20.92
1.49
Beverages, snacks
Sala Lee
20.01
-0.53
Meat and bakery
Coca-Cola
18.87
4.13
Beverages, foods
McDonalds
11.41
1.64
Restaurants
Source: Mickey Chopra 2002, Globalization and Food: Implications for the promotion of “Healthy Diets” in Globalization, Diets and Non-communicable Diseases, World Health Organization

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