Friday, May 05, 2017

The Economics of food

The current model of food we have in the west is a creation of market economics with repercussion on our culture, space and identity. We eat fancy food on few occasions, the food we consume on daily basis is essentially fast food. Western fast food tastes poor, unhealthy and not a viable solution for daily consumption. There are three main reasons and they are caused by the economics of free market. They are the illusion of choice, personal space and the role of the real estate.

McDonalds do not offer real choice but it creates a different model than a chef brewed stew in cauldron. It doesn’t offer relaxing space but it creates a different model than eating as part of an ensemble – a row on a breakfast bar. These two are cultural transformations brought about by capitalism through emphasise on individualism, competition and choice. Property is different as it’s a market mechanism; the real business of McDonalds is not burger its real estate.

A good model is where the chef opens a restaurant and charges £20 and makes £25. The chef should not have massive overhead costs for premises and labour. Food should be seen as part of social tradition. The policy of capitalism that customer first ruins good food because good food is prepared without customer in mind, they don't know who you are and how you react and what you prefer. Food should reconstitute cultural and social norms where people eat together in a group and the chef serves food they made. The chef has prepared food that he believes is good and puts it down for sharing there is no menu and there is no waiting list and there are no separate tables, it is a bit like your mother serving food. We have to go back and recognise that food is part of our psychological sense of space.

Our cultural identity in food is appropriated by the market; markets also shape influences such as peers and friends who take over our food by labels such as organic, vegan ... Food chains dominate the restaurant sector and only exist if the local community does not provide good service and is only a sign of community decline. 

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