‘Big Food’: The industrial food system

Sue Booth, John Coveney

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)


    For many consumers, the industrial food system must appear as a bountiful enigma. Increasingly, food is available 24 h a day, 7 days a week. Gone are the days in the 1970s when Australian supermarkets were only open on Saturdays until 12 noon. Shelves are restocked nightly, and consumers are lured with attractive end-of-aisle displays, encouraging persuasive discretionary purchases. Celebratory foods such as traditional hot cross buns make an appearance in supermarkets in late January, months before Easter. Food production is neither bound by climatic nor seasonal rhythms; indeed, it appears as if to defy nature. It is possible to buy south-east Asian tropical fruit and Queensland strawberries from a supermarket in the depths of a Melbourne winter. Storms, cyclones and other natural weather events, may wipe out a staple crop such as bananas in Queensland, but this poses little difficulty. Under the fluorescent lights of the fruit and vegetable section, local supermarket shelves are filled with bananas produced in New South Wales. The disconnect between the reality of the natural world and the supermarket offerings results in consumers being ‘divorced’ from the food supply.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationSpringerBriefs in Public Health
    Place of PublicationSingapore
    PublisherSpringer International Publishing
    Number of pages9
    ISBN (Electronic)9789812874238
    ISBN (Print)9789812874221
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

    Publication series

    NameSpringerBriefs in Public Health
    ISSN (Print)2192-3698
    ISSN (Electronic)2192-3701


    • supply chain
    • food system
    • shelf space
    • large portion size
    • consumer commission


    Dive into the research topics of '‘Big Food’: The industrial food system'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this