There have been a couple of very interesting programs on our National Broadcaster. Since these two about food are from the UK, you should be able to get them there on one of the BBC's.
If you have ever wondered what goes into making commercially produced food, try "Jimmy's Food Factory" on ABC 1 at 8 p.m. on Thursdays. It is both scientific and entertaining. I caught an epsiode about making Low Fat Mayonnaise and I don't think I will be using it again.
JIMMY'S FOOD FACTORY: PACKED LUNCH Hobart TV Guide for ABC1 (Channel 2)
Watch out also for the next episode of "The People's Supermarket."
The Ethical Consumer Group
This is about one man's struggle to breathe some life into an empty shop in his UK main street by opening a supermarket and inviting people to take up shares in it. In the episode I watched, he was losing money hand over fist because being a chef, he tried to stock his shop with with interesting food. This however did not serve the needs of many of his local shareholders, many of whom were already on the breadline.
"What do I want with with artichokes? Where are the chips?" was a typical comment. On the other hand turning it into just another retail shop with aisles filled with soft drinks and biscuits, did not please his more middle class shareholders.Eventually he hits on the idea of buying directly from local farmers, who are also being ground down by the big chains. The produce previously rejected by them such as potatoes which were too big or too misshapen, proves immensely popular with his customers as well as being a win for the farmers. Even the middle class shoppers are pleased because it is local and not freighted in from abroad. The next episode promises to be about food waste, the importance of which has already been mentioned..
Just why it's important to offer some alternatives to the power of the big chains will be evident from watching the follwing clips. In Australia the two big giants control 60% of the food supply, far more than their UK counterparts who only control 48% of the food market, or the U.S. where the major companies only control around 20%. But wait! There's more. Watch the clip:
Or this one:
Or on suppliers and food manufacturers
There are four episodes in this series and several more interesting videos on the subject. Just follow the YouTube trail when you get there.
The concern re farmers, manufacturers and small retailers, is that they are being pushed to the wall, making them vulnerable to the kinds of takeover we have seen repeatedly in recent years. Even for the consumer, what use are cheaper products if you can't afford to buy them or you don't have a job? The worst part is, once the majority of suppliers and competitors have been killed off, the prices are no longer cheap. It's the TipTop principle which was deployed years ago when supermarkets started selling cheaper bread using their greater purchasing power and then raised the price as soon as they had put all the small country bakeries out of business.The fourth segment in the series shows what happens to companies which try to compete or other businesses in the places where the BIG TWO decide to set up shop.
It makes a mockery of those heartwarming, warm fuzzy ads about "My Woollies." Not to let Coles off the hook.
Let the buyer beware indeed!