A typical Japanese sushi is comprised of: four nori seaweeds sheets; two cups of cooked sushi rice; two tablespoons wasabi paste; four ounces of a cooked octopus; one tablespoon salmon caviar; four asparagus spears that are balanced and sliced. It further contains shiitake mushrooms; four ounces of cooked prawns; four ounces raw fresh tuna; and four ounces of raw fresh salmon that is thinly sliced (Sushi, 201). Hot Coffee Masara on the other hand is comprised of two cups of water, two cumin seeds, half cinnamon stick, one-half instant coffee granules, two-teaspoonful nonfat dry milk powder, and teaspoon white sugar (Allrecipes, 2011). Sushi comes from Japan while coffee comes from Kenya. I happened to stop for a sushi at Masago Restaurant on long Island at lunch one day. I have also happened to take Hot Coffee Masara from MacDonald’s.
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Kenyan coffee passes through a number of hands before landing into the American food industry. From the farms, intermediaries who engage in blending the coffee into its numerous brands first buy it. These intermediaries then sell the blended coffee to exporters who introduce the commodity to the local American market. Clearly, it changes a number of hands from distributors, to supermarkets before finally landing at a restaurant like MacDonald’s for consumption. In a similar manner, American restaurants import seaweed from Japan to make sushi.
Granted, a global market in the long-term promotes the unity of humanity through sharing of the diverse global products. This is emphasized by the fact that this aspect of contemporary trade provides people from distant corners of the globe with a platform on which they can share their different cultures and traditions in their foods. Such a scenario is likely to promote oneness through an appreciation of other people’s diverse cultures through sharing of foods and other products. Another example of a long-term benefit of global market is nurturing specialization. In this light, a country specializes in the large-scale production of a globally traded commodity, which subsequently lowers its production cost and places it on a competitive edge. From the exportation proceeds of the commodity, a country is then able to purchase other food for local consumption. In addition, a poor third world country like Kenya gets the opportunity to earn a much-needed foreign exchange, which is critical in the learning of its economy. Such an income can go a long way in promoting the welfare of the citizens of such a country and even promoting employment in the concerned industry.
Another long-term benefit of a global market is apparent from the consumer of the product. From a consumer’s perspective, the benefit of a global market comes in terms of a variety in the market. In this observation, a consumer is no longer bound to settle on what is available in the local markets due to a widespread of foreign food products in the local markets. In the short-term, local retailers are availed with a platform to go global and generate more profits by extending their services in other markets around the world. The short-term view is underlined by the fact that with time, competition is likely to grow—outing dominant forces on the market and replacing them with new ones.
One of long-term negative impact of a global food market is degradation of the environment. This informed by the fact that when there is a global demand of a particular food crop, the response has been the creation of monocultures to address the tremendous quantities required. In turn, monocultures call for massive inputs of herbicides, pesticides, and chemical fertilizers. Science has established that these practices discourage biodiversity in the farmland, leading to soil erosion and poisoning of the ecosystem among other negative implications on the ecosystem. In another aspect of food-related pollution, the transportation of food over long distances has made food transport a significant contributor to fossil fuel use, greenhouse gas emissions, and pollution. To illustrate this, food accounts for 20 % of all the commodities transported within the United States borders. Subsequently, food transport accounts for more than 100 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions every year. In the United Kingdom, at least four million tons of Carbon dioxide is emitted every year in the importation of foods and animal feeds. However, much of this transport is not necessary since global trade entails a series of importing and exporting the same commodity (Time, 2006).
Another long-term negative impact of a globalized food market is the domination of the food market by corporate intermediaries instead of farmers and other small stakeholders. This results from a declining number of farmers as individual farms seek to become larger and more mechanized. For example, in the US today, there are only one-fourth of the 6.8 million farmers that were operational in 1935. As a result, at least 90% of every dollar spent on food goes to the distributors, markets, and input suppliers. Further, global players are edging out small stakeholders like shopkeepers in the food industry market. In the UK for example, more than 1000 small players in the food industry—bakers, butchers, grocers, fishmongers—closed shops in the 1990s (Gorelick & Helena, 2011).
A short time impact of global food market is that people can end up consuming largely the same food over a long time. In other words, a monoculture of farming can lead to the spreading of a human monoculture in which the tastes and habits of a people are homogenized. This can be particularly achievable through advertising of these monoculture products, long distance transportation, and a long time of storage. A good illustration in this case is the UHT milk that continually gets newly developed additives to extend its storage time. In this regard, food corporations provide ‘convenient’ foods for consumers who are in a hurry. However, the knowledge-based economy of the contemporary society is likely to change such a negative trend—making it a short time negative impact (Dean, 2007).
The phrase; think globally, act locally, can have a number of meaning in the contemporary food industry. One, its meaning can be associated with the beauty of interacting with the farmers one-on-one during one’s purchase of their products. Such an exercise would be a break from the tradition of buying from the blighted urban markets. Two, one can also draw nutritional meanings from this phrase. In this view, one can be in a position to consume freshly picked products as opposed to consuming a product that has travelled hundreds of kilometers over a long time. Economically, this phrase can to imply offering support to small-scale farmers who cannot compete with corporate players in the agribusiness industry (Dean, 2007).
The above research about global market has not changed the way I will choose goods in the future. This is because the negative aspects of the global market like environmental degradation cannot be reverted by an individual. Moreover, the relevant authorities like the governments and the major corporate players are not willing to act to curtail the negative implications of their ventures. My argument is further supported by the fact that every aspect of the human activity is going global and the food industry is no exception. Indeed, what the relevant stakeholders should do is to come up with ways of mitigating the negative aspects of global market. This is informed by the fact that many positive attributes of global markets, as indicated above, are gainful to the human society. In conclusion, the continued integration of the human culture in all aspects of the life will finally contribute to the contemporary vision among humanity of the world becoming a global village. If a globalized market can prove to be one of the drivers to achieve this end, it is highly welcome. This is because an integrated world culture would ensure among other aspects of human life, human peace.
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