Reasons Affecting the Development of World Cuisine-IV-Retail


If we look at the changes in retail sales primarily from England; It appears to have two phases in England; The first stage is the transition of the sales made in the open market to the closed shops in the city. The second phase of the retail revolution took place in the 19th century and is not about urbanization but industrialization.

This situation has affected both the cities and the food and cooking styles in the village. In the Middle Ages, market places were the places where the products of the surrounding villages were exchanged with the products of the local artisans. There are hardly any shops selling food in these markets; The city administration has made it compulsory for the food trade to be carried out in the street markets for the purpose of control. There have been constant adjustments in the market to prevent "spoiling" or "hoarding" of food products being collected from the market and then sold at higher prices in the same market. At the same time, attempts were made to control quality and price. Its control was left partly to the professional associations and partly to the collective authorities of the guilds.

The establishment of groceries began with the growth of the London suburbs (as the markets were far from the inhabitants). During this period, grain merchants and a few other merchants were seen as fixed sellers with fixed shops. (Goody, 2012:218)

Starting from 1777, the transition from markets to shops took place, and only after this date, with the processing and sale of food brought by industrialization, great changes took place in the country. After extensive agricultural changes at the turn of the century, many people came to London to enter the food trade. In retail sales, only those who have apprenticed in London with respectable people and those who are members of councils or guilds are given the right to sell. Price control was carried out by the municipality, and products were not allowed to be sold in places other than the market. This has been controlled by the big companies in London; Reputable persons must be members of relevant trade associations. Grocery stores, such as the Butchers, Greengrocers or Grocers association (as cited in Keevil 2013:218) Grocery stores, played an important role in later developments.

Grocery Stores in Retailing

Grocery stores have been linked to imported food from foreign countries for many years. Stable foodstuffs from the Mediterranean, the Far East and the New World were added to them, first dried fruits, then tea, coffee, cocoa and sugar. Grocery stores that trade imported dry food pioneered the second-stage retailing revolution.

Imported products became cheaper with the innovations in transportation, and industrial products packaged before sale started to dominate the market. These products were often branded and sold through nationwide advertising prior to sale. At the beginning of the period when advertisements started, the aim was to gain prestige in the society, which was suspicious of patented foods and was cautious about cheating in foodstuffs. Therefore, with the first advertisements, it was pointed out that the references of noble customers regarding cleanliness and quality, certificates of award and authorization, and cheap imitations of the brand should be avoided. This was the first indication of the legitimacy of processed foods. (Goody, 2013:219)

As a result of all these processes, food consumption has become homogenized and based on the demand of the working class, which does not have direct access to main production, as well as the changing peasant society. Groceries have gained an important place due to large-scale export and production in mass demand.

In the 1860s, new products were added to the processed foods that grocers sold. These include corn flour, cooking salt and soups. Technical revolutions in mass production and semi-processed foodstuffs, and the increasing trade volume of tea and sugar have made the grocery store the most important trade center for families' daily purchases. (cited from Blackman 1976:151, Goody 2013:222)

“According to each income level, the majority of consumers drink the same tea, use the same cigarette, and their children wear the same clothes, watch the same movie on TV, eat the same cereal for breakfast” (Davis 1966:84 as cited in Goody 2013:221). Differences in income, class and status were beginning to show themselves in different ways.

What is adulteration?

Adulteration is the process of reducing the real value of precious metals by adding the less valuable ones. Cheating on food is almost as old as selling food. For example, it has been said that wine brought to Rome from Gaul was adulterated, and that local bakers also added white soil to the bread. Adulteration has been a feature of urban and peasant societies. The rapid growth of cities with the development of manufacturing industry in the last century has become one of the main social problems of cheating in food. The public analysis of branded products to ensure food safety, as well as large-scale advertising sought to contain cheating in food, also led to the creation of a national cuisine (at least in terms of processed ingredients and convenience foods).

The Birth of Big Markets

Grocery shopping has undergone a radical change; The person who chooses and approves the product is no longer the owner of the shop. This process has started to be done by the brand and advertisement, the manufacturer and the packager. Although local flavors continue to maintain their importance, they have decreased. Considering these developments in retailing in international platforms, the move towards self-service and even automatic service has been a big step. While small shops (groceries) disappeared, the number of large markets increased rapidly. However, this situation was not the same everywhere, markets or grocery stores managed by the owner continued to exist in rural areas. In cities, small shops often sell new or second-hand items, filling the secondary gaps created by supermarkets, shopping malls, and discount stores.

In general, larger markets have started to appear in front of consumers with cheaper prices, more product options and suprapersonal choices, and the population with social mobility has started to prefer this. The impact of these developments on diet and cuisine has been great; food has begun to enter the house with most of the work done at home completed. Many dishes have become partially or fully processed and even sold in ready-to-eat form. As a result, there have been standardizations in both materials and labor. In terms of prices, the cost of standardization is reflected in the costs, and the cost of the producer-intermediary is transferred to the product purchased by the consumer. (Goody, 2013:225)

These processes, which affect the development of world cuisine, were similarly seen in our country. In our lands, where the big producers are not fully settled, small producer-farmers are doing retailing through the public-broker relationship.

Farmer-State-Commissioner Relationship in Retailing

In our country, in the retail sector, most of the unprocessed foods coming to the markets and markets are brokered by brokerage. In these days, when the new market law is on the agenda, it is expected that the work done to ensure the maximum benefit for the producer-farmer and to protect the producer and consumer balance of the retailing sector will be completed carefully. Brokerage is a status that should not be given up when viewed from the farmer's point of view. According to the farmer, the broker is the one who supports the farmer with cash, seedlings, fertilizers, pesticides, in short, all the criteria that support production when necessary. In other words, the broker-dealing position has become a kind of bank-support institution. Today, where the farmer and the production are so precious; What should not be forgotten is that the wishes of the farmer should be taken into account in the relationship of the producer-farmer with the broker.

In these days when grocery stores have almost disappeared, the entire food retailing sector has shifted to big markets, it should be prevented that large markets have the status of new brokers.

In this case, brokerage status; producer-farmer and consumer should be updated to provide optimum benefit.


  • Goody, J., (2013). Food, Kitchen, Class. Istanbul:Detail Publications

About the Author

Didem Samurkas

I am a Computer Engineer, I am married, I first completed my master's degree in Sociology in order to find answers to my questions why we live social life like this, how our relations with each other are formed, and now I am continuing my Sociology doctoral program. I am doing my thesis on food and agriculture.

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