Mass-Produced Food: the Rise and Fall of the Promise of Health and Safety
AbstractThe greater awareness of the negative environmental and health-related externalities of the large-scale food industry is directly responsible for the diminished confidence of the quality of its products. Using the multi-level perspective on socio-technical transitions (Geels, 2004; 2010), I argue that the initial impetus for the emergence of mass production was the presence of threats to health and safety in the broader societal context. Rather than simply serving economic considerations, the scale and scientific expertise of mass production functioned as a credible signal due to its relationship to these threats. The declining health and safety of the food industry represents, however, a consequence of the changing relationship of scale and quality due to the emergence of new threats to health and safety. Scale as a signal of credibility is no longer sufficient to guarantee these qualities, however. Absent the incentives to undertake costly investments in quality production, the criteria of productivity and efficiency become duly emphasized to the detriment of health and safety. Hence, the continued emphasis on scale now represents a limitation to improving health and safety. Instead, further quality innovation demands the development of a costly signal appropriate to the extant social context.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Max Planck Institute of Economics, Evolutionary Economics Group in its series Papers on Economics and Evolution with number 2013-03.
Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: 16 Apr 2013
Date of revision:
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-AGR-2013-04-27 (Agricultural Economics)
- NEP-ALL-2013-04-27 (All new papers)
- NEP-CWA-2013-04-27 (Central & Western Asia)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Carlota Perez, 2010. "Technological revolutions and techno-economic paradigms," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 34(1), pages 185-202, January.
- Shapiro, Carl, 1983. "Premiums for High Quality Products as Returns to Reputations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 98(4), pages 659-79, November.
- Darby, Michael R & Karni, Edi, 1973. "Free Competition and the Optimal Amount of Fraud," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(1), pages 67-88, April.
- Geels, Frank W., 2010. "Ontologies, socio-technical transitions (to sustainability), and the multi-level perspective," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 495-510, May.
- Kaufman, Phillip R., 1999. "Food Retailing Consolidation: Implications For Supply Chain Management Practices," Journal of Food Distribution Research, Food Distribution Research Society, vol. 30(1), March.
- Akerlof, George A, 1970. "The Market for 'Lemons': Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 84(3), pages 488-500, August.
- Geels, Frank W. & Schot, Johan, 2007. "Typology of sociotechnical transition pathways," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 399-417, April.
- Windrum, Paul & Birchenhall, Chris, 1998. "Is product life cycle theory a special case? Dominant designs and the emergence of market niches through coevolutionary-learning," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 109-134, March.
- Spence, Michael, 1976. "Informational Aspects of Market Structure: An Introduction," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 90(4), pages 591-97, November.
- Geels, Frank W., 2004. "From sectoral systems of innovation to socio-technical systems: Insights about dynamics and change from sociology and institutional theory," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(6-7), pages 897-920, September.
- Hjorth-Andersen, Chr., 1991. "Quality indicators : In theory and in fact," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 35(8), pages 1491-1505, December.
- Smith, Trenton G. & Chouinard, Hayley H. & Wandschneider, Philip R., 2011.
"Waiting for the invisible hand: Novel products and the role of information in the modern market for food,"
Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 239-249, April.
- Trenton Smith & Hayley Chouinard & Philip Wandschneider, 2009. "Waiting for the Invisible Hand: Novel Products and the Role of Information in the Modern Market for Food," Working Papers 2009-07, School of Economic Sciences, Washington State University.
- Elitzak, Howard, 1999. "Food Cost Review, 1950-97," Agricultural Economics Reports 34053, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
- Eric Giraud‐Héraud & Abdelhakim Hammoudi & Ruben Hoffmann & Louis‐Georges Soler, 2012. "Joint Private Safety Standards and Vertical Relationships in Food Retailing," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 21(1), pages 179-212, 03.
- Christopher Freeman, 1991. "Innovation, Changes of Techno-Economic Paradigm and Biological Analogies in Economics," Revue Économique, Programme National Persée, vol. 42(2), pages 211-232.
- Bruce W. Marion, 1998. "Changing power relationships in US food industry: Brokerage arrangements for private label products," Agribusiness, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(2), pages 85-93.
- Caswell, Julie A., 1998. "How Labeling Of Safety And Process Attributes Affects Markets For Food," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, vol. 27(2), October.
- Christopher Freeman, 1991. "Innovation, Changes of Techno-Economic Paradigm and Biological Analogies in Economics," Revue économique, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 0(2), pages 211-232.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Karin Serfling).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.