Dynamics of New Industrial Knowledge Flows
Edited by Philip Cooke, Carla De Laurentis, Stewart MacNeill and Chris Collinge
Chapter 3: Production–Consumption Models and Knowledge Dynamics in the Food and Drinks Sector
Jesper Manniche 3.1 INTRODUCTION Until the 1970s the development of the economic and social systems through which food and drinks were grown, processed, marketed and sold was an uncontested productivist modernization project based on growing mass markets for standardized products. Neo-Marxist researchers in the 1970s presented a criticism of capitalist ‘food commodity systems’ and ‘agro-industrial complexes’ using analytical concepts in line with the ‘agrarian question’ problematic of classical Marxism (Watts and Goodman, 1997). However, since the beginning of the 1990s the prevailing industrial agro-food model has been subject to a much broader criticism and public debate. Food-related issues like obesity, health, lifestyle-related diseases, food safety, environment protection, animal welfare, the effects of genetically modified organisms on nature and humans, the decline of rural economies, protection of regional culinary traditions, global imbalances in food supplies and principles of international trade policies are all subjects for intensive political and ethical debates. Furthermore, in economical business terms the dominating industrial food model has recently been challenged by the emergence and growth of a variety of new food markets, supplied by new types of businesses models and networks, emphasizing other definitions of quality than price, efficiency and standardization. Despite their limited economic weight these new food markets and business models represent important directions for the future development of the food and drinks (F&D) sector. Two emerging business models seem to be relevant alongside the mainstream, industrial food model: the ‘alternative’ and the ‘functional’ food models. ‘Alternative’ food covers different products with rather fuzzy,...
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