The Question of a Reasonable Price for Food: Policy Alternatives to Control Food Price Inflation in Developed Economies
This chapter explores a number of policy responses to food price inflation in developed economies. It focuses on previous food price crises, in particular the 2007–2008 food price crisis, and examines how governments of selected developed economies have managed the price inflation of the food basket. In particular, this chapter investigates how Australia, the United Kingdom and France have responded to the challenges of volatile international food prices and have managed to maintain stable national food prices. While food price inflation in Australia and the United Kingdom has reached in excess of 40% over the last 10 years, in France it has been contained to about 20% over the same period. The reluctance of liberal market economies to engage in policies that directly control food price inflation contrasts with the French hands-on approach at regulating the domestic food distribution and retailing sectors. Australia and the United Kingdom advocate that only the improvement of market efficiency will assist in controlling food price inflation rather than intervening along the supply chain. More in-depth research is required to confirm what the present work is suggesting, that is bargaining between state and the food industry contributes towards reducing the speed and magnitude at which price increases are transmitted along the supply chain to the end consumer.
KeywordsFood Price National Food Food Supply Chain Large Retailer Grocery Retailer
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS): http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/6401.0 Retrieved in October 2011.
- Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. (2008). Report of the ACCC inquiry into the competitiveness of retail prices for standard groceries. Canberra: ACCC.Google Scholar
- Australian Food Statistics. (2008). Australian Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry 2009.Google Scholar
- Baker, D., Fear, J., & Deniss, R. (2009, November). What a waste: An analysis of household expenditure on food. Policy Brief No.6.Google Scholar
- Bello, W., & Baviera, M. (2009). Food wars. The Monthly Review, 61(3).Google Scholar
- Besson, E. (2008, December). State secretary to the evaluation of public policy—France. Formation des Prix Alimentaires (Food Prices Development). Report presented to the French Prime Minister. http://www.lesrapports.ladocumentaitonfrancaise.fr/BRP/084000760/0000.pdf Retrieved in September 2011.
- Clarke, R., Davies, S., Dobson, P., & Waterson, M. (2002). Buyer power and competition in european food retailing. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
- Delforce, R., Dickson, A., & Hogan, J. (2005). Australia’s Food Industry: Recent changes and challenges. Australian Commodities, 12(2), 379–390.Google Scholar
- Dixon, J. (2007). Supermarkets as new food authorities. In D. Burch & G. Lawrence (Eds.), Supermarkets and agri-food supply chains (pp. 29–50). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
- Eising, R. (2009). The political economy of state-business relations in Europe. Interest mediation, capitalism and EU policy-making. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- European Commission. (2009, October 28). Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions. A better functioning food supply chain in Europe. http://www.eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=COM:2009:0591:FIN:EN:HTML Retrieved September 2011.
- European Commission (2010) Eurostat: Income and living conditions in Europe. In: Atkinson AB, Marlier E (eds). Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.Google Scholar
- FAO (2010, December). Global information and early warning system (GIEWS), crop prospects and food situation. http://www.fao.org/giews/english/cpfs/index.htm Retrieved September 2011.
- Fold, N., & Pritchard, B. (2005). Cross-continental food chains. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Friedmann, H. (2005). From colonialism to green capitalism: social movements and emergence of food regimes. In F. Buttel & P. McMichael (Eds.), New directions in the sociology of global development, research in rural sociology and development (pp. 227–264). Oxford: Elsevier.Google Scholar
- Gamble, A. (1985). Britain in decline: economic policy, political strategy, and the British state. London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
- INSEE—Institut National de la Statistique et des Etudes Economiques (National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies) France. http://www.indices.insee.fr/bsweb/servlet/bsweb?action=BS_SERIE&BS_IDBANK=000637406&BS_IDARBO=06000000000000 Retrieved in November 2011.
- Krugman, P. (2008). Grains gone wild. The New York Times. www.nytimes.com/2008/04/07/opinion/07krugman.html Retrieved September 2011.
- Lang, T., Barling, D., & Caraher, M. (2009). Food policy: Integrating health, environment and society. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- McMichael, P. (2009c). The world food crisis in historical perspective. The Monthly Review, 61(03).Google Scholar
- Observatoire de la Formation des Prix et des Marges des Prix Alimentaires (2011) (Observatory of Price Development and Margins of Food Prices). Rapport au Parlement (Report to the Parliament). http://www.franceagrimer.fr/Projet-02/04infos_eco/observatoire/110627/Resume-4-pages_v2.pdf Retrieved November 2011.
- Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD): Agricultural Outlook 2010–2019. Highlights 2010.Google Scholar
- Prime Minister’s Science, Engineering and Innovation Council (PMSEIC) (2010). Australia and food security in a changing world ISBN 978 0642 72551 6.Google Scholar
- Pritchard, B. (2005). Implementing and maintaining neoliberal agriculture in Australia. Part II: Strategies for securing neoliberalism. International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture and Food, 13(2).Google Scholar
- Southgate, D., Graham, D., & Tweeten, L. (2007). The world food economy. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
- Steele, C. (2008). Hungry city. London: Random House.Google Scholar
- UK Competition Commission (CC). (2008). The supply of groceries in the UK—Market investigation. http://www.competition-commission.org.uk/rep_pub/reports/2008/538grocery.htm Retrieved October 2011.
- UK Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) (2004). Investigation of the determinants of farm-retail price spreads. Resource document by London Economics. http://www.londecon.co.uk/publication/investigation-of-the-determinants-of-farm-retail-price-spreads Retrieved October 2011.
- UK Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). The 2007/2008 agricultural price spikes—Causes and policy implications. http://www.archive.defra.gov.uk/foodfarm/food/security/price.htm Retrieved October 2011.
- United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). (2006). The least developed countries report—Developing productive capacities. http://www.unctad.org/en/docs/ldc2006_en.pdf Retrieved September 2011.
- Zumbo, F. (2010). Interview presented in the age—Education resource centre: Rising food prices: Can competition help? http://www.education.theage.com.au/cmspage.php?intid=152&intversion=15 Retrieved October 2011.
- Zysman, J. (1978). The French State in the international economy. In P. J. Katzenstein (Ed.), Between power and plenty (pp. 255–293). Madison, WI: The University of Wisconsin Press.Google Scholar