Shopped: The Shocking Power of British Supermarkets

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  1. Shopped : the shocking power of British supermarkets / Joanna Blythman. - Version details - Trove
  2. Shopped – the shocking power of British supermarkets
  3. Freely available

The theme of both books is that a small number of huge companies now have an unhealthy degree of control over our food supply.


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Half the UK's food is now sold through 1, huge stores. Five giant companies control three-quarters of the world's banana trade. Two giant baking companies provide two-thirds of the UK's bread. One company provides a quarter of all the pre-packed sandwiches sold in British supermarkets.

Both books refer to the "hourglass" model developed by the food industry analyst Jan-Willem Grievink, in which the top bulge represents the million consumers who make purchasing decisions in Europe, and the bottom bulge represents the 3. In the middle there is a narrow pinch-point, where just retailers' buying desks the teams responsible for buying goods in different categories decide what will be available in the shops for us to buy. In Grievink's diagram, this pinch-point is highlighted with an arrow marked "power". One of Lawrence's aims was to show that all the different concerns about food connect.

The result is a kind of Gaia theory of food, in which a young supermarket buyer in, say, Swindon, cancels a contract for a few thousand boxes of green beans at short notice and all along the global food chain, transporters, packers and pickers are sent home, laid off, go hungry.

Both authors are keen to stress - rather in the teeth of the evidence they present - that it is still possible to avert a future in which Tesco provides for all our needs from womb to tomb. We are urged to support alternatives to supermarkets wherever we can, and to apply a hierarchy of priorities when shopping - buying local, seasonal produce, direct from growers whenever possible, and organic as long as it hasn't clocked up too many air miles.

I hope they are right. But even the veteran food campaigner Tim Lang, who foresaw the dolorous consequences of retail concentration a long time ago and has grimly watched his predictions come true, was caught out by Lawrence on an uncharacteristic note of pessimism: Rosalind Sharpe works for the food poverty project at Sustain, the alliance for better food and farming.

Felicity Lawrence will take part in a food debate at the Guardian Hay Festival tomorrow. Shopped is the best book I have read so far on the evils of supermarket empires. It is set out in concise anger inducing chapters that detail every horrendous act of greed and exploitation you can imagine. If it is unethical and puts someone out of business, you can count on it being a primary practice of a supermarket. A handful of topics that Shopped covers are: Add to that the hypocrisy of 'fresh' bakeries and deli counters which are actually from frozen and simply defrosted and put out on display - check the labels!

If you want an intelligent book that will make you seethe with utter rage, then Shopped will become your bible. This book may be doom and gloom but at the back, it does provide the reader with a section of simple social and political things they can do because at the end of the day, if we all STOPPED shopping in supermarkets, then maybe the evil empire will fall a lot sooner. Aug 22, Claire rated it really liked it.

A fascinating read, which carries you along with ease.

Shopped : the shocking power of British supermarkets / Joanna Blythman. - Version details - Trove

Written by a journalist as opposed to a researcher has made the book very readable and Blythman presents the information in an easy to read format. Obviously the book is biased against the supermarkets and although the supermarkets are given chance to speak for themselves the message has been made clear already. My copy is from 05 and although a lot of the information is still clearly relevant and pertinent, it is starting to date, especially A fascinating read, which carries you along with ease.

Aug 11, Laura rated it liked it. An interesting read, but felt more like a rant than anything else. For an eye-opening read on that account i would recommend to also read joel bakan's The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power. Being mostly corporations, supermarkets can only ever act the way they do. If the interest pursued is the shareholder only who expects constant growth in profit, no wonder Aug 08, Jess Coombs rated it liked it.

Good at the start, gets incredibly repetitive in the middle. I would probably say since this book was published in it's now dated and most already know the scandals detailed in this book, but it certainly goes a long way to explaining why Tesco tried to get away with using horsemeat, and then pretend they were none the wiser! Finished well, but I don't know if I would recommend reading it. Jun 09, Denise rated it really liked it Shelves: Joanna Blythman is my hero. I love her restaurant reviews in the Sunday Herald and think she writes a lot of common sense about food and our relationship with it.

This book will reinforce any concerns you have about the negative role of the supermarkets in our lives and have you rushing to support your local producers.


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  • Nov 13, Sharon Gardner rated it liked it. A lot of repetition and hyperbole. I think the same points could have been made in a less obtrusive way. By the end I was getting bored.

    Shopped – the shocking power of British supermarkets

    Still the book raises important points. The most shocking part for me was to do with the relationship between supermarkets and their suppliers. I'm happy to be diversifying my shopping and supporting more small independent shops. Absolute "must read" to anyone in any country.

    Without reiterating previous reviewers I would just say that if you were pondering over investments, don't hesitate any longer - buy global retailers' shares. Chances are few and little that anyone in the coming years might oppose their expansionist growth, resulting in rising share prices. I wish this book were sent to an editor for quartering down to size.

    Freely available

    Separate different tags with a comma. To include a comma in your tag, surround the tag with double quotes. Skip to content Skip to search. Home All editions This edition , , English, Book edition: Physical Description xviii, p. Language English View all editions Prev Next edition 3 of 4. Check copyright status Cite this Title Shopped: Subjects Supermarkets -- Great Britain. Food industry and trade -- Great Britain.