food industry USA

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F O O D   I N D U S T R Y   I N   T H E   U. S. 

- Today: 7.8 billion people → around 15%: problems having direct acces to food/drinkable water.

- Before: people lived in rural areas → Now: more than half people live in cities. (the number will raise)

Population growth and people living in cities growth: TRANSFORMED OUR RELATION TO FOOD:

- tractors, agriculural tools: developed → increase the productivity. 

- chemistry (GMOs, pesticides, etc.) → increase production per square mile / reduce yields (pérdidas)

→ new way of production: FORDISM → seale increased / agriculture: factory system. 

- last decade: counter mouv. To this industrialized way of farming have emerged (urban agriculture, Fair trade, sustainable agriculture...)


Regional and national traditions/consumption habits:

- regions in the US: not very well defined → 5 major regions (Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, Southwest, West)

- rural USA: mostly in the center parts, regions were plains are abundant. 

- Midwest: important part of agricultural activity. BUT cattle / crops → grown in almost every part (intensity varies & regions tend to specialize in a certain crop/cattle: old "tradition" a century or more)

What is grown/cropped in the diff. Regions & cultural diversity  → influences the regional cuisines.

   Ex: Pastrami sandwich: bond btw american wheat bread & typical italian pastrami meat. // Cajuin shrimp: African, French origins & shrimp typicall from Louisiana. 


Evolution: traditional farms→food factories:

Food Inc. (documentary): exposes problematics within the American food system.

- Consumers expect eating food coming from farms (marketing: cowboys...)→ REALITY: mostly comes from food factories. 

- Fast-Food: model borrowed by the agro-industry. 

   - factory based system→ PROFITABLE: employees→easily replaceable / producing big quantities→reduces the cost per item.

   - 1970: 5 of the biggest packing companies → controlled around 25% of the market NOW 4 companies → around 80%. 

MORE WITH LESS:

Ex. Corn: easily stored (for years), grown easily in abundance (before: 20 bushes per acre, now: 250-300), cheap, can feed a lot of animals, transformed and used for very diff. Purposes. 

   ↓↓↓ producing more: changes the status of the business... CHICKEN → FOOD

   IMPACT: quality of life of the animals and several (possible) repercussios on people that eat these animals (E. Colli)


Labour and food production:

Tyson associates: farmers → invest in chicken houses & sign a contract with a company (assures that everything they produce gets sold), in exchange: farmers associates need to produce high quantities of chicken → fashion (way) that the companies asks for.

→→INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION: generates stress for the farmers & health problems (antibiotic allergies...) & bad living conditions for the animals.

also, farmers: keep adding to their debts→requires new equipments for their production. 

Industrial factory workers: 

-  companies (meat packing comp., cattle comp.): influenced by taylorism & fast food company business framework. 

- BIG COMPANIES / FACTORIES: now produce a lot of the food we find in supermarkets. 

!!! BUT: big impact on workers (healthwise)→ has created a competition (other farmers in the world (Mexico) can't compete) → 90s: big immigration mouv. Of Mexican farmers to the USA (Mexican corn couldn't compete with American corn). 

CAFOs and their impact: 

- Big farming complexes (a bit like factories): specialize in production of animal food (cows, pigs...) → despite the regulations: big IMPACT (quality of the water & air of the surrounding area). 


Conclusion: 

- Food: essential for humans→represents a sure market. 

- ways implemented in the last century in the production of food → changed the manner that we consume it. 

- Traditional food: adapted to these new porduction processes.

- What we now eat → impacts our way of life, environment & landscape. 

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