The Supermarket Tour: A handbook for education and action

Publisher:  OPIRG Provincial, Physics 226, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Canada
Year Published:  1978  
Pages:  48pp   Price:  2.00  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX946

The Supermarket Tour manual is an attempt to provide the first step in the development of an understanding of the food problem.

Abstract:  The Supermarket Tour manual is an attempt to provide the first step in the development of an understanding of the food problem. The authors take the supermarket as the point of departure as it is the link between local concerns and the concerns of people throughout the world.

Designed as an introduction to food issues, the tour is limited to a few major themes which are as follows: (1) the psychological manipulation of consumers through advertising, store layout and other techniques geared to encourage consumers to spend as much money as possible; (2) the 'myth of competition' - the tour demonstrates that real competition is scarce; that competition is a smokescreen to conceal increasing corporate concentration; (3) the global integration of food production and distribution by transnational agribusiness firms; and (4) the contradiction between food production for profit and food production to meet people's needs.

By means of a sample script from a supermarket tour conducted in the Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario region, Part I of the manual addresses itself in particular to the logistics of a tour. Significantly illustrated with appropriate 'Alice in Wonderland' cartoons, both the tour and script are adaptable to major chains across the country. The concluding section stresses the importance of the wrap-up session to 'close' the experience, while simultaneously opening up new possibilities for learning and action. In addition, 36 other sources for sample scripts are offered the reader.

Part II of the manual provides background information on a variety of related topics. These include corporate profiles of five conglomerates in Canada's food distribution system, sources for data on agribusiness and other fact sheets pertaining to farm issues, local market concentration, the top 50 national advertisers in 1977 and some international dimensions of the food issue.

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