02 Sep 2011

The Local Food Shift

The question of local food has become increasingly important to consumers. Public service officials and political candidates have been forced to find new means to responsibly source local, organic, and healthy produce.

The shift towards local food has gathered strength to become something of a global movement. Conscientious customers have been demanding a replacement of the globalized and industrialized system, with a self-reliant, locally based food supply source.

It is hoped that communities will be able to satisfy their own basic food needs by utilising a bio-intensive production method that will restore the soil, rebuild a connection with the land, and help strengthen the community.

The local food movement was instigated by an increased demand amongst the population for increased access to organic and healthy foods, preferably grown by people who are known and trusted.

Evidence of the shift

Japan has always been a difficult market for foreign food retailers to crack. Recently, Tesco have announced their decision to withdraw from Japan, as the company were unable to make a successful return on their investment.

Tesco are now planning to sell all of their remaining 129 Japanese branches. The British giant was disappointed by revenues that only enable half of these outlets to record a profit. Tesco CEO, Philip Clarke, concluded in his statement. “Having made considerable efforts in Japan, we have concluded that we cannot build a sufficiently scalable business.”

In Japan, convenience stores are especially popular, with chains like 7-Eleven, FamilyMart and Lawson proving extremely successful. “It has proven very difficult to shift consumers from the stores that they use,” said Clarke. “We’ve got great opportunities in Asia in businesses where we are market-leading.”

Japanese consumers have always been unimpressed by western supermarkets attempting to export their business model to Japan, with several global businesses that having struggled in Japan. These include Carrefour, the French hypermarket giant, and Wal-Mart Japan.   

Similarly, the global Slow Food movement has began to rebel against imported, mass produced food. The not-for-profit organisation was founded during 1989 in Turin, and it made a real effort to promote real food, prepared and cooked in a traditional way.

The trend towards fresh, organic food has ensured that the Slow Food movement has expanded globally. There are now over 100,000 members in 2,000 food communities, spread across 150 countries. The organisation even incorporates restaurants that sell high-quality produce and fine farmer markets.



 
 

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