I went to local market last weekend and trying to get strawberries, only to discover that the strawberries sold are from Egypt. So, I went and ask the question –why from Egypt and not from Cameron Highland, a local mountain that is capable to produce strawberries? The answer is strawberries from Cameron Highland tasted sour and Egypt strawberries taste better.
I was always taught to consume local food because it is fresher, supporting local farmers and economy but my experience taught me otherwise. Local may equal fresh, supportive for local farmers and economy but not necessary preferred by the consumers. In today world of food globalization, the definition of preference goes beyond the word “local” and “sustainability”, the broader definition also includes taste, culture, popularity/trend and indirectly refer to the status of the consumers.
Globalization has turned food, a basic human “needs” into commodities driven by human desire. The good news are the food company are trying hard to listen and invest in meeting human desire to gain market share in their own industry. The missing link is consumer voice are so scattered that it is difficult for company to really know what consumer wants and don’t. The subsequent part is do consumer really say and meant what they want? Does the product that the consumer wants exist or can be created?
I was on a plane earlier this week, to hear a flight attendant became upset because people kept changing their meal preference. He asked the most common question –why do people kept changing their mind? We change our mind because we are human, we desire different foods and drinks at different time of the day under the influence of fluctuating mood.
To add complications to globalization, food products are subjected to the local and international regulatory and trade requirement such as declaration of ingredients, approval of ingredients and trade regulation associated with product transportation and release into its intended countries.
We are in the era of global food trade, where we trade not only the food product but everything else associated with it, whether it is made locally or with imported ingredients, food safety issues such as food pathogen outbreak and the carbon footprint associated with shipping and transportation.
Food consumerism has gone beyond meeting human needs, bridge into consumer’s demand and the next challenge is to create a global communities that know where their food comes from and trade-off associated with choosing their very own manner of way of eating. There will be many channels along the way that can help guide consumer into fulfilling their own food path, namely, nutritionist, dieticians, food scientists, naturopaths, farmers, food marketers, government and non-government agencies. Multiple source of information and credible information may help one to understand their food path better. I am on the quest of seeking my own food path –have you started?
About the Author:
Felicia Loo is a food science graduate from UBC. With an interest in food marketing, I explore how food products are created, marketed, and distributed to end users. I enjoy assisting others developing safe food product management, please reach out to me on LinkedIn for opportunity to work together.
Find me on LinkedIn. Tweet me @felicialoo. Visit me at www.felicialoo.com.
Copyright ©Felicia Loo 2017
Disclaimer: This article is solely reflective of my personal thoughts. While every caution has been taken to provide my readers with most accurate information and honest analysis, please use your discretion before taking any decisions based on the information in this article.