21 July 2021

James Clark: “Supermarkets have become an indispensable part of modern life. Most of us shop at them several times a week. Almost everyone buys their fruit, vegetables, meat, and dairy there, as well as cleaning products, toiletries, basic medicine, and whatever household supplies we need. Supermarkets are the center of our food system. The products they decide to stock and promote impact the health and well-being of the entire population. But their real influence comes from their buying power. As the largest buyers, the decisions that supermarket chains make flow through our whole economy. From what farmers grow to how shipping companies schedule their fleets, supermarkets set the agenda for the food system. That system is broken. To fix it, we need to take the supermarkets out of private hands. … In fact, supermarkets already plan our food system. But they do it for the sake of profit maximization rather than the public good and long-term sustainability. Supermarkets use their influence over what we eat to promote high-margin, low-nutrition foods. Their buying power places arduous demands on their supply chains, leading to worker exploitation. Like all other essential services, the supermarket should be in the hands of the people.”