The Impact of Food Globalization
Globalization is an emerging force that may transform the world into a global village, where people will completely abandon their indigenous culture and adopt a common culture that combines the practices of multiple cultures. In fact, the current trends in migration, tourism, and the international trade are bringing together the people of various countries, and they borrow from one another's cultural habits and norms that start influencing the way people behave. Moreover, globalization manifests itself in such ways as the development of a common type of food, dressing codes, technological advancement and migration among others. The researcher aims at conducting a desktop study to unearth the impacts of food globalization on the world. The research focuses on the increased international trade, advertisement and promotion of foodstuffs, improved availability and diversity of food, and cultural changes in the host population. Finally, the work also explores the emergence and the spread of the Transnational Food Companies and Transnational supermarkets.
Actually, globalization of food affects people’s lives in a variety of ways and can even make them change their culture. Globalization has brought a significant impact on the food system all over the world and this fact increases the diversity and the availability of food; however, the availability of food varies across countries. Globalization implies the integration of people on a worldwide scale that results from the interchange of ideas, products, views and other cultural aspects; thus, globalization leads to the development of a standard hybrid culture that combines a collection of habits from various indigenous culture. The increased cross-boundary migration tends to increase the globalization of food, as the immigrants bring their favorite food to the host destination and the locals begin to accept new food. Moreover, the presence of multinational companies leads to the completion of food market share and, thus, the companies establish the branches in many countries and sell their products across boundaries. In fact, globalization of food has a great impact on the world and, therefore, it is a relevant topic. Food globalization is a significant modern cross-boundary issue because it significantly affects people's lives regarding culture, and trade among others.
Increased International Trade, Advertisement, and Promotion
Globalization of food leads to an increase in the sale of edibles across international boundaries through imports and exports. Actually, the trade contributes to the increase in the Foreign Direct Investment, which increased by six times from 1990 to 2000 at the global level and a great part of the investment was dedicated to food and beverages industry. The United Sates Foreign Direct Investment in terms of food processing rose from $ 9 billion in 1980 to $36 billion in 2000, and the sales hit $ 150 billion in 2000. The investment appears to represent a move to control a significant share of the international food market. What is important, the entry of international firms is evident in both developed and the developing countries. In the middle-income countries, food companies are in the lead as they represent foreign affiliates in the tertiary and the industrial sector and their target is to process and sell food in the host market. In 1998, the United States affiliate food companies earned 78% of the sales in the host countries. In China, the local businesses beat their foreign counterparts in terms of food sales, but the foreign companies succeed in soft drinks, instant noodles, and sweet biscuits among other products. In fact, this trend shows that countries depend on one another, as they do not have the ability to produce everything they require. By 1993, the United States Foreign Direct Investment in Mexico has hit $ 2.3 billion in the food industry despite the presence of local firms. Therefore, it is evident that the globalization of food has increased the demand for Foreign Direct Investment.
Apart from the Foreign Direct Investment, globalization of food has led to the increased sale of foodstuff in the form of agricultural exports and imports among the friendly countries. In fact, the trade enables countries to import foods in order to boost the local supply that increases the food availability. According to SOSY, the United States food imports exceeded the exports between the 1980s and 1990s. However, from 2000 the United States became the largest exporter of the agricultural commodities; however, the quantity of surplus is not stable. Actually, other major exporters are also emerging. For instance, Brazil exports soya beans, while Canada is a major exporter of hog and beef to the United States. The free trade followed the signing of free trade agreements in the Washington. For instance, according to SOSY, the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement reduced the barriers to the United States farm exports and made it easy for American production to flow to other countries. Similarly, the agreements removed the restrictions on imports and, thus, facilitated the movement of imports from other nations. In fact, the export and import of agricultural products provide a variety of food to the respective countries that increases the availability and the diversity of food. International trade also avails multiple suppliers of food that is beneficial, as a great number of suppliers lead to market competition in terms of food prices and food quality that benefits the consumers. In addition, food globalization is essential, as it facilitates the provision of relief food needed to tackle the drought challenges in less developed countries. For instance, India once received the food from the United States to feed the starving population. Therefore, the globalization of food increases the availability of food, international trade, and the global interdependency.
What is important, globalization of food fuels the intensified global advertisement and promotion that facilitates the rapid flow of new products into the world market. Actually, the advertisers try to attract people's attention to new products and to create the perceived differences between the identical products with the aim of increasing the perceived value and the desire for the product. The advertisement trend makes the consumer purchase more products and, thus, demand more products from the sellers. In fact, the reports indicate that the ad trend has inflated the related expenditure on food advertisement, as the global figure has risen from $ 216 to $512 billion between 1980 and 2004. Hawkes also states that food producers spend an estimate of $ 30 billion more on promotion and advertisement in the United States of America, when compared to other industries. However, a great part of the expenditures is allocated to the campaign in the developing countries. For instance, Coca-Cola spends more on the advertisement in developing countries, when compared to their developed countries. The food sellers have their target population they seek to enlighten about their products. Most of the marketing in the western countries is dedicated to nutrient-poor and high-calorie food, while foodstuffs with sweeteners and fats are the most advertised in Brazil. Actually, the advertisements mainly target children in Asia. The advertisement takes place in a variety of media such as televisions, radio, internet, newspapers and magazines, posters and fliers, and road shows among others. In addition, the companies employ other strategies to reach their desired population. For instance, in Latin America, the soft drink industry sought to increase the consumption of their products in schools via the special promotions in the late 1990s. In India, the companies use celebrities in the advertisements to entice the consumers to buy more products of their brand. In China, foreign fast foods, such as McDonalds, provide facilities to host children's birthday parties and to play and the recreation areas to attract more customers. Regarding the information mentioned above, the globalization of food has lead to the increased advertisement of products.
Increased Availability and Diversity of food and Cultural Changes
Some reports prove that globalization of food leads to the cultural changes in the aspects of food systems. According to Hawkes, Transnational Food Companies promote the transfer of tastes, habits and preferences from highly developed to developing countries; the transfer mainly takes place through the promotions and advertisements that alter the patterns of eating and local traditions. However, food from developing countries may also have an impact on the developed countries, especially, when there are many immigrants in the developed country. Hawkes states that the presence of McDonald's in the East Asia is an example of the cultural influence, as the U.S. based firm has managed to change the family values of the Chinese in the 1980s and 90s by making children embrace fast food as a social norm. In fact, McDonald's entered China, when the society was undergoing a social transformation, and, thus, young parents and their children thronged the joints for food and leisure. Therefore, the firms took advantage and began to bring innovations to please young generation that had different preferences from the older generation of residents. Actually, the management introduced birthday party celebrations, other prize giving and regular dietary intake of fast food. Thus, the Chinese embraced the new habits and incorporated them into their culture.
Apart from foreign fast food companies, globalization of food also leads to the direct introduction of exotic food in various countries. Caroll states that the importation of Sushi fish from Japan has significantly changed the North American culture. Moreover, the researcher adds that people have gradually accepted the stuff and have incorporated it into their menu, even though the acceptance of Japanese food in America has been relatively slow. For instance, tuna was not tasteful to the Americans in 1966, but it became a delicacy to them later. In Los Angeles, the influx of Japanese executives and managers promoted the introduction of the Japanese food such as Fish Maki and Nigiri; the Americans got the chance to access the food and incorporate it into their culture, since they had money to buy the food from restaurants. Therefore, the information mentioned above proves that the introduction of exotic food changes the indigenous habits.
The Growth of Transnational Food Companies and Supermarkets
Actually, the developments in the globalization of food have led to the emergence and the spread of Transnational Food Companies. The companies deal with the production, distribution, and marketing of food at the international level. The trend has made it easier for the customers to buy products of a company at the cross-boundary level. The companies use global vertical integration strategy that entails the control of the production, the distribution and the sale of particular goods by buying and contracting other companies at the global level. In addition, the firms may perform global outsourcing that implies the search for inputs, production sites, and outputs, where the regulations and the political environment are conducive. The firms may also grow through Direct Foreign Investment, whereby the companies open foreign affiliates in developing countries to process food. In fact, the McDonald's is an example of an international business that has subsidiaries in several countries. Therefore, globalization of food promotes the development of the Transnational Food Companies.
Moreover, globalization of food has led to the emergence and spread of the transnational supermarkets. Currently, the sellers are trying to sell food across the boundaries. In fact, the shops grew through Direct Foreign Investment; thus, the U.S. based chains grew to the level of $ 13 billion in 1999. The European countries also have similar supermarkets that sell their products across boundaries. In fact, the transnational retailers have significantly influenced the availability, the accessibility and the prices of food. Moreover, the development shifts the demand from the home products to the store-bought food. The increased growth of the transnational retailers in the developing countries introduced the processed food such as frozen meat, fruits, and vegetables; the retailers significantly affect people's eating habits, as they can stock a variety of processed products. In Mexico, the shops grew from 700 to 3850 and to 5729 in 1993, 1997, and 2004, respectively; the example is the Wal-Mart de Mexico/WalMex that is a leading U.S. based firm in Mexico that has recorded 663 transactions in 79 cities by 2004. The data mentioned above presents the ability of the foreign corporations to influence people’s culture, as the retailers make the host population purchase exotic food in bulks and store it in their houses that lowers the purchase of local agricultural products.
Finally, globalization refers to the integration of people across the boundaries due to the cultural exchanges that make people abandon their traditional habits and develop a universal culture that is a hybrid of various cultures. Food Globalization is a critical modern cross-boundary affair because it significantly affects people's lives regarding culture and trade among others. In fact, the development has some significant impacts across the world, as it affects the host country and the counterpart that brings the foodstuff in question. Firstly, it increases international trade, advertisement and the promotion of food products. Secondly, it increases the availability, the diversity of food and the cultural changes in the host population. Lastly, the trend leads to the emergence and the spread of both the Transnational Food Companies and the Transnational supermarkets. The evidence mentioned above is adequate to prove that globalization of food has significant impacts across the world. Moreover, the economic and social impact of globalization on various countries needs an in-depth research.