The Impact of Industrialization on the Food Systems

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Introduction

This essay will highlight the “impact of the industrialization on the food system and how it has worked wonders for the developed countries in terms of feeding their population”. Food is the basic need of humans for their survival and it becomes important for the policymakers and the government to develop an effective food system will ensure continuous production and supply of the food to the people. The food system is an important mechanism that needs to be oiled well to function efficiently. The food system has evolved significantly in the last century when there was a stress on the entire food supply chain. This was the period that could easily be characterized by significant changes in production tactics, distribution, consumption, control and concentration of the market share. The third industrial revolution has provided new impetus to the food system that has changed the landscape of the food systems all over the world, especially in developed countries. Technological advancements were also the major force behind the industrialization of the food system for the good of it and that has contributed significantly in increasing the efficiency of the food supply chain (Latham, 2015).

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Industrialization and Food System

Industrialization has always been a major force that has changed the landscape of human civilizations across centuries. The first industrial revolution bought in the transition of from hand production methods to more mechanized production process which contributed significantly to the process of the food supply chain. The second industrial revolution furthers the use of machines and technology for production and that enhanced the food production and food supply chain process more efficiently. The gradual process of enhancement kept on increasing with new mechanized systems being integrated into the food systems and the food supply chain process. Developed world and countries have adopted the industrial process within their food supply chain process effectively and that allowed them to enhance their whole food systems with increased food productivity and effective distribution of the foods. The developed world has a significant increase in their food storage and has been able to effectively manage the growing demands of food even in the modest seasons (McMichael, 2012).

Technology within Food Systems

Technology is at the forefront of all the industrial revolution and for that matter becomes an integral part of the food systems. Technological advancements in the last 50 years have exponentially helped the countries all over the world to enhance their food systems. The developed countries were the first to integrate technology within their food systems and for that matter were able to produce food at a fast pace and at cheaper cost of production as compares to other countries. If we take the instance of America and how they successfully integrated technology into their food production systems, it is important to note they were effectively been able to provide adequate food to the majority of their population. The USA and subsequently developed countries successfully utilized the technological advancements to enhance their food systems and the food supply chain processes (McMichael, 2012).

All the developed countries were able to transcend the seasons with the help of the technology with a cornucopia of the year-round vegetables and fruit supplies. The infusion of technology to produce foods have allowed the producers to manage a steady supply of foods even during off or modest seasons. The technical transformations within the food production and agro-based foods made the production process move at a faster speed and in increased capacity. The agro-based food, with the help of technology, were processed faster and been able to store it for a longer period. Technology changed the processing and storage process where both the activities saw significant changes about how earlier the processes were being followed by the producers of the food (Weis, 2017).

Global Food System

The developed countries and their adoption of technology in enhancing their food system have definitely affected the global food system in a positive way. The USA developed a vast and unique system of industrialized agricultural production which was focused majorly on the commodity crops for use in the processed foods, animal feed and crops destined for the exports. The same strategy was adopted by various other developed countries like France, UK, Germany and many more where they not only were feeding their own population but also were exporting the same to other parts of the world. The global food system was deeply impacted by the industrialization of the food system in ways where exports and imports become a major part of the food systems. Countries that were not been able to produce a certain type of food products can now easily imported the same from other countries that is producing it and that made the whole food system an inclusive one and in the providing impetus to the economy of the country exporting the food commodities (Koc, Sumner and Winson, 2017).

The global food system was largely influenced by the industrialization and technological processes where not only the production but the whole distribution process was impacted. The effective processing of the food commodities and packaging and distribution of it were largely influenced by the technological implications. The food commodities could now be moved from place to place at an increased pace and with precise distribution networks. The move from ships to trains and to airplanes was all the gradual process and were part of the industrialization process where the food commodities can ow be moving at a brisk pace and with effective precision (Weis, 2017).

Population Increase and Food Security

The population of the world has grown exponentially in the last 50 years which is now almost double of what it was in 1980 or so. The increasing population has put serious pressure on the demand and supply processes where it becomes increasingly important to out-weigh the demand through effective food supply chain processes. In this context, it becomes important to understand the dynamics of the population rise. The developing countries are more plagued with the population rise problem, where countries in Southern Asia like India and Bangladesh and in the Sub-Saharan areas are mostly facing the rising population problem. If we take the instance of India which has now the second largest population in the world and which is also a developing country that is majorly facing the problems of food shortage in one form or another where they have to rely on the exports to feed their population. The same story goes with various other countries also and for that matter, it becomes important for these countries to adopt newer technology into their food systems to increase their productivity in order to meet their increasing food demands (William, 2014).

Food is considered to be the right of every human being and the United Nations promoted the idea of food security where they take care of the countries and its population does not have the resources and the capabilities to feed their own population. It is a well-documented fact that there is an imbalance across the world in terms of food supplies and productivity and which is causing hunger problems in many countries. The problem can only be addressed with proper management of the global food system where it becomes the responsibility of the global food leaders and producers to contribute significantly to the food system process in terms of supplies of food commodities (Popkin, 2013).

Impact on Food Quality and Environment

The industrialized food production system has bought a host of new health, environmental, economic and social problems that is yet to be solved. In addition to this, global climate change is a new challenge that is impacting the food system in direct and indirect ways. The quality of the food has also been compromised to produce cheaper food commodities. The whole food system may have enhanced its process in terms of production and distribution process, but it definitely has compromised on the quality of the food that is being served. The increased demand is promoting adulteration and hybrid production systems are compromising with the quality of the food and that certainly is a major problem for all the people in today’s times (William, 2014).

The industrialized food system is also putting stress on the environment where pollution and increased use of the resources is resulting in global climate change that clearly is showing in the form of water shortages, floods and increasing global temperature. All these factors have imbalanced the entire food system processes in terms of shortage of supplies.

Conclusion

Food system is the lifeline of human civilization and it becomes important for the policy makers to keep it in shape to feed the people. The industrialization process has enhanced the food system in terms of productivity and distribution process. However, in turn, it is creating new problems in many areas like the environment and health which is posing various questions about the impact of the industrialization of the food system. In that case, it becomes imperative for the policy makers to keep a tab on all the aspects of the food system to manage it effectively and efficiently.

References

  1. Koc, M., Sumner, J., & Winson, A. (2017). Critical perspectives in food studies (2nd ed.). Don Mills, Ontario: Oxford University Press.
  2. Latham M, HUMAN NUTRITION IN THE DEVELOPING WORLD Ch. 1 (2015), available at http://www.fao.org/docrep/w0073e/w0073e03.htm [https://perma.cc/5EL3-U2JC].
  3. William R. Cline, Global Warming and Agriculture, FIN. & DEV., March 2014, at 24– 25, https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/fandd/2008/03/pdf/cline.pdf [https://perma.cc/6XMMNC4A].
  4. Weis, Tony. 2017. The Global Food Economy: The Battle for the Future of Farming. Zed Books.
  5. Popkin, Barry. M. 2013. “Nutritional Patterns and Transitions.” Population and Development Review, Vol. 19, No. 1, pp. 138-157.
  6. McMichael, Philip. 2012. Development and Social Change: A Global Perspective. SAGE Publications, Inc.
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The Impact of Industrialization on the Food Systems. (2021, Dec 30). Retrieved November 27, 2022 , from
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