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A fortune in cookies? : changing contexts of consumption and the emergence of the industrial palate in… MacLeod, Scott Alexander 1988

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A FORTUNE IN COOKIES? CHANGING CONTEXTS OF CONSUMPTION AND THE EMERGENCE OF THE INDUSTRIAL PALATE IN HONG KONG. By S c o t t Alexander MacLeod B.A., The U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1984 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN THE REQUIREMENTS MASTER PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF FOR THE DEGREE OF OF ARTS i n THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Department of Geography) We accept t h i s T h e s i s as Conforming t o the Required Standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA March 1988 (§) S c o t t Macleod In presenting this thesis inj partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of (9gCx_j T C ^ H y The University of British Columbia 1956 Main Mall Vancouver, Canada V6T 1Y3 Date H a < T ^ ? 7 DE-6(3/81) ABSTRACT. This paper examines the process of converging and i n d u s t r i a l i z i n g food habits i n Hong Kong. I t does t h i s by examining changes i n the food system as a whole, placing consumption patterns i n the context of the l o c a l food system and l o c a l s o c i a l formation. In turn, l o c a l dynamics are placed i n a global context. I t i s within the global context that the geographical homogenization of available foodstuffs i s occurring. I t i s , however, i n l o c a l place where the processes and trends are manifested. The paper begins with a discussion of the research issues and questions that surround the studies of consumption, food habits and Hong Kong. There i s then a section which deals with the nature of food as an i n d u s t r i a l commodity and the nature of the world i n d u s t r i a l food system. The i o g i c behind the geographical homogenization i s drawn out of t h i s discussion. The paper then turns to the geographical set t i n g of the Hong Kong case; f i r s t describing the nature of the l o c a l s o c i a l formation then moving on to consider changes i n the l o c a l food system i n the post Second World War period. Changes i n the import/export p r o f i l e , the l o c a l food production economy and the l o c a l c i r c u l a t o r y sphere are outlined. These areas exhibit a tendency to c a p i t a l i i i . ) i n t e n s i f i c a t i o n and i n t e r n a t i o n a l i z a t i o n . F i n a l l y changes i n the actual consumption patterns of the people of Hong Kong are addressed. The conclusion of the analysis i s that the Hong Kong s o c i a l formation and the Hong Kong food system are undergoing a r a d i c a l transformation: one where g l o b a l l y a r t i c u l a t e d c a p i t a l i s t *patterns of regulation' are coming to shape the nature of agency i n regards to food consumption i n the l o c a l place that i s Hong Kong. i v . TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER I. INTRODUCTION 1 A. Research Agenda 1 B. Research Approach 3 C. Research Foci 7 1. Consumption 7 a. Why Consumption? 7 b. The Modernization of Consumption Patterns 8 c. The Convergence of Consumption Patterns 9 d. Two Routes to Changes i n Consumption Patterns.10 e. In Summation 13 2. Food as Research Focus 13 a. Why Food? 13 b. The Structural Contexts of Food Habits 15 i) Defining the Nature of Structure 15 i i ) , Defining the Scale of Structure 19 c. In Summation 20 3. Hong Kong 21 a. Why Hong Kong? 21 b. In Summation 24 V . CHAPTER I I . THE INDUSTRIAL PALATE 26 A. The Foundations of the I n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n of Food ...26 B. The I n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n and Inter n a t i o n a l i z a t i o n of the Food Sector 28 1. Food as I n d u s t r i a l Commodity 29 a. Food Processing 31 b. Food Marketing 33 c. In Summation 33 2. The World Food Industry 34 3. The World I n d u s t r i a l Food System and Homogenization 36 4. In Summation 41 CHAPTER I I I . THE HONG KONG MILIEU 43 A. Hong Kong, The Setting 43 B. So c i e t a l Changes Supporting Changing Consumption Patterns 50 1. The Basic Parameters of the Mass Market i n Hong Kong 50 v i . 2. L i f e Cycle and Family Dynamics 52 3. Income Levels 54 a. Factors Adjusting the Income Picture 55 i) The Myth of Laissez-Faire Hong Kong 55 i i ) The Impact of Chinese Food Imports on Income Levels 56 i i i ) In Sum 57 b. The Importance of Income Levels 57 4. Advertising, Marketing and Class Dynamics 60 a. Advertising 60 b. P r o l e t a r i a n i z a t i o n and Consumption 63 c. Class, Status Emulation and Consumption 64 d. In Summation 65 C. Links to the Global Community 66 D. Consumption Trends i n Hong Kong i n General 68 E. In Summation 70 CHAPTER IV. CHANGES IN THE HONG KONG FOOD SYSTEM 72 A. The Hong Kong Import/Export P r o f i l e 72 1. Imports 72 v i i . a. General Trends 72 i ) Changes i n the Types of Foods Imported 74 b. The ~Sourcing' of Suppliers 75 c. Variations i n Value 79 d. Bases of Changing Imports 81 e. In Summation 82 2. Re-Exports 83 3. Exports 85 4. In Summation 86 B. The I n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n of a Local Food Production Economy, The Hong Kong Case 87 1. In The Fi e l d s 88 a. General Trends ..89 b. Sources of Change 93 c. In Summation 96 2. The Hong Kong Food Industry 97 3. In Summation 101 C. Changes i n the Hong Kong Food D i s t r i b u t i o n System...102 1. General Trends 103 2. Comparing R e t a i l Types 105 3. The Supermarket i n Hong Kong 108 a. General Growth Trends 108 b. A Case Study 109 v i i i . c . Supe rmarke t s and M a r k e t C o n t r o l I l l d . The Supe rmarke t I n S i t u , E f f e c t s and N e e d s . . . 1 1 3 i ) Supe rmarke t O u t r e a c h 115 4 . The F F V , S e l e c t i v e A d o p t i o n and t h e C o m p e t i t i v e N i c h e s o f R e t a i l Types 120 5 . The F F V , The C o n v e n i e n c e S t o r e and t h e P e n e t r a t i o n o f t h e W o r l d Food Sys tem 123 a . The FFV S e c t o r 123 b . The C o n v e n i e n c e S t o r e 124 6. I n Summation 127 CHAPTER V . CHANGING FOOD CONSUMPTION PATTERNS 129 A . M e a l s Bought Away From Home 130 1. T r e n d s i n t h e R e s t a u r a n t S e c t o r 132 2 . The C h i n e s e R e s t a u r a n t S e c t o r 135 3 . Compar ing R e s t a u r a n t Types 137 4 . The Hong Kong F a s t Food S e c t o r 139 5 . I n Summation 143 B . C h a n g i n g C o n s u m p t i o n P a t t e r n s i n t h e Home 144 1. The Home S h o p p i n g B a s k e t 145 a . A n a l y s i s by E x p e n d i t u r e C o h o r t s 153 i x . CHAPTER VI. IN CONCLUSION... 157 A. Thinking About Convergence 157 1. Convergence as Discourse 158 a. Grammatical Structures and Food Systems 159 b. The Vocabulary of the Food System as Discourse 163 c. The Syntactical Relationship Between Grammar and Vocabulary 164 2. Discourse i n Place 166 B. Poli c y Issues..... 170 1. Ef f e c t s on Poorer Consumers.... 170 2. Other Pol i c y Issues 174 C. The Hong Kong Case i n Summation 177 NOTES 183 REFERENCES 194 X . L i s t of T a b l e s . No. Page 1. U.S. I r i s h Potato U t i l i z a t i o n and Per C a p i t a Consumption, 1956 - 1979 32 2. I n d i c a t o r s of p o t e n t i a l Mass Market -- Hong Kong 51 3. The Impact of Higher Food Costs on the S i z e D i s t r i b u t i o n of Household Income, 1981 59 4. Media D e n s i t y Hong Kong 63 5. Hong Kong, I n t e r n a t i o n a l Linkages - - Communications 67 6. Value of Trade 67 7. Percent Expenditure on Durable Goods 70 8. Imports, Re-exports and Retained Imports -- F o o d s t u f f s 74 9. Hong Kong F o o d s t u f f Imports S e l e c t e d F o o d s t u f f s 76 10. Imports From China as a Percentage of T o t a l Imports, S e l e c t e d F o o d s t u f f s 76 11. S e l e c t e d Imported F o o d s t u f f s 78 12. Imports L e v e l s , Vegetables and F r u i t s S e l e c t e d C o u n t r i e s 80 13. Imports by End-use by Main S u p p l i e r s 81 x i . 14. Comparative Share of Hong Kong's P r i n c i p a l Export Commodities i n Main Markets - Beverages i n China 86 15. Hong Kong, Per Capita Production of Selected Foodstuffs 92 16. Hong Kong, Food Processing Industry 99 17. Characteristics of Food Manufacturing Industry i n Hong Kong -- By Size of Gross Output 100 18. Scale of Operations, Number of Employees, Selected R e t a i l Types 106 19. Sales, Gross Margin and Value-Addition, Selected R e t a i l Types 107 20. Growth of Wellcome Supermarkets 110 21. Comparative Sales Per Establishment Restaurant Sector, 1983 135 22. Characteristics of Restaurant Types 138 23. Foodstuffs Increasing Share of Home Shopping Basket Expenditures 147 24. Foodstuffs Decreasing Share of Home Shopping Basket Expenditures 148 25. 1963/64 D i f f e r e n t i a l Allotment of Expenditures 144 x i i . L i s t of Graphs 1. Intens i ty of Adver t i s ing E f f o r t i n LDCs Versus Developed Countries 62 2. Percentage of T o t a l Expenditure Spent on Selected Categories 69 3. Re-exports by End-Use Category 84 4. Unit Value Indexes of Re-exports By End-Use Category 84 4. Changes i n A g r i c u l t u r a l Land Use 1954-1979 91 6. Number of Establishments Food R e t a i l i n g 105 7. Index of Value of Sales Food R e t a i l i n g 108 8. Value of T o t a l Receipts by Restaurant Type 133 L i s t of Maps. 1. Locat ion of Hong Kong 44 2. Map of Hong Kong 45 x i i i . Acknowledgments. The bulk of the work i n t h i s paper was carryed out under the terms of research-assistanceship. That work was under the d i r e c t i o n of Dr. T.G. McGee, and was part of a larger SSHRC project on food consumption patterns i n Latin America and Asia ( j o i n t l y run by the I n s t i t u t e of Asian Research, University of B r i t i s h Columbia and The Centre for Development Studies, McGill U n i v e r s i t y ) . I would l i k e to thank Dr. McGee for his seemingly undying patience with my t h e o r e t i c a l meanderings and the ongoing delays which seem to be a part of the Master's Thesis experience. His " d i r t y gumboot hermeneutics' was a much needed grounding for the analysis at hand and a lesson i n what geography can and should be. As usual, though I thank Terry for his advice, he should not be held accountable for any errors i n my i n t e l l e c t u a l ways. The s t a f f and fa c u l t y of the geography department also made th i s e f f o r t possible through t h e i r enthusiasm for the d i s c i p l i n e and the continuing debates which help one to refine one's perspective. In p a r t i c u l a r , the work of Rex Casinader i n the area of the i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n of food production was a prime force i n molding the way I have come to view that topic. Thanks also to the s t a f f at the i n s t i t u t e of Asia Research (Sabrina Yan and Katie E l l i o t ) , and the numerous friends who put up with the t r a v a i l s of t h i s process. F i n a l l y , and most es p e c i a l l y , a thank you to my family that no mere words can express. Jan, Gord and Mary: I owe you big! 1 CHAPTER I.  INTRODUCTION. A. RESEARCH AGENDA. The t h e s i s of the f o l l o w i n g paper i s t h a t , as Hong Kong i s an i n t e r n a t i o n a l l y a r t i c u l a t e d urban area, the l o c a l food system i s becoming i n c r e a s i n g l y framed i n the l o g i c of the world i n d u s t r i a l food system. Through changes i n 'foodways' the l o c a l food system i s becoming l e s s shaped by t r a d i t i o n a l l o c a l e c o - c u l t u r a l concerns and more i n f l u e n c e d by c a p i t a l i s t market f o r c e s . These changes e f f e c t and r e f l e c t fundamental s h i f t s i n the food h a b i t s of the l o c a l p o p u l a t i o n and are l e a d i n g t o the convergence of l o c a l food consumption p a t t e r n s w i t h those of an e v o l v i n g g l o b a l norm. U n d e r l y i n g both the i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n and convergence trends i s a process whereby i n t e r n a t i o n a l l y o r i e n t e d c a p i t a l i s t p a t t e r n s of r e g u l a t i o n 1 are coming to s t r u c t u r e the d e c i s i o n s of the myriad of a c t o r s who i n t u r n s k e t c h the o u t l i n e s of the l o c a l food system -- a prime con t e x t of consumption. The focus of the paper i s on two i n s e p a r a b l e t r e n d s . The f i r s t concerns changes i n the Hong Kong food system as a whole ( i . e . i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n and i n t e r n a t i o n a l i z a t i o n ) . The second 2 i s the act of consumption, where the outlines of the food system are a c t u a l l y r e a l i z e d i n concrete space. Put another way, the primary concern i s with changes i n consumption patterns, but these can only be understood i n the context of the i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n and i n t e r n a t i o n a l i z a t i o n of the food system. The goal of the following study i s to see i f Hong Kong i s experiencing an i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n and i n t e r n a t i o n a l i z a t i o n of i t s food system, from production to consumption, and i f so, to examine the geographical r e a l i t y of how these trends are evolving i n the Hong Kong milieu. There i s no e x i s t i n g l i t e r a t u r e which s p e c i f i c a l l y addresses the topic at hand. Thus, most of the t h e o r e t i c a l and discursive sections of the paper are o r i g i n a l . They aris e not from a p r i o r i theorization but from the study i t s e l f . Precedence i s given to the actual geographical developments of the processes discussed, and theory i s employed as a h e u r i s t i c device to help make the s i t u a t i o n more i n t e l l i g i b l e , not necessarily simpler, nor c l e a r l y explainable. To do t h i s the paper adopts a rather h o l i s t i c perspective, emphasizing the complexity and i n t e r a c t i v e nature of the process of s o c i a l change. To achieve these multiple objectives the paper i s l a i d out i n the following manner. The f i r s t section deals with the general research approach, the reasons for adopting the 3 s p e c i f i c research focus and some pertinent t h e o r e t i c a l questions. The second section of the paper examines the broad generalizing forces i n the world food system. I t outlines the p e c u l i a r i t i e s of food as an i n d u s t r i a l product, and demonstrates how the 'logic' of the world food system seems to lead to the c a p i t a l i n t e n s i f i c a t i o n and i n t e r n a t i o n a l i z a t i o n of food production and eventually to the geographical homogenization of product. The fourth section moves into the s p e c i f i c i t i e s of the Hong Kong case, looking at changes i n the production and c i r c u l a t i o n spheres. The penultimate section deals with the repercussions of the described changes i n terms of actual consumption patterns. The f i n a l section deals the conclusions of the study and suggests p o l i c y issues. B. RESEARCH APPROACH. "Social Change Isn't What i t Used to Be." Whether one c a l l s i t 'modernization', 'development' or some other term, the way s o c i a l s c i e n t i s t s are coming to view s o c i a l change i s i t s e l f changing. In the s o c i a l sciences i n general there has been a move to emphasize the v a r i a b i l i t y and contingency i n the way general trends develop i n concrete space. There i s , i n the recent l i t e r a t u r e a growing discontent 4 with the stark imagery of the 1dependistas' and more l a t t e r l y of those (e.g. Frobel et a l . 1980) who a r t i c u l a t e the theory of the New International D i v i s i o n of Labour (or NIDL). In c r i t i c i z i n g the conventional wisdom on NIDL, writers such as L i p i e t z (1986) have focused on the theory's conception of c a u s a l i t y ( i . e . , top down) and i t s uni-dimensionality ( i . e . , over-emphasis of labour costs). These c r i t i c s assert that there i s a need to emphasize the importance and scope of the i n t e r a c t i o n and i n t e r s e c t i o n of global forces and l o c a l dynamics (see also McGee 1986; or Scott and Storper, ed. 1986). Though the global 'place-market' (Harvey 1985) of NIDL provides a basic macro-level context for l o c a l e v e n t u a l i t i e s , i t c l e a r l y does not determine the nature and shape of the r e s u l t i n g s i t u a t i o n . Thus, there i s no simple d i r e c t u n i l i n e a r causal linkage between a given variable within an ubiquitous but i l l - d e f i n e d global milieu and a tabula rasa l o c a l s e t t i n g . Though the above authors are predominantly concerned with changes i n the production sphere the g i s t of the argument holds p a r t i c u l a r l y well i n terms of the consumption sphere. Linked to the above proposition i s the increasingly held view that changes i n one sphere of economic a c t i v i t y , such as production,' do not d i r e c t l y determine the s p e c i f i c contours of another sphere, such as that of reproduction or consumption. This i s not to suggest that there are no s p e c i f i a b l e linkages, rather that these linkages can not be given a p r i o r i and must 5 be analyzed as geographically, h i s t o r i c a l l y and s e c t o r i a l l y variable r e l a t i o n s h i p s . As t h i s paper w i l l go on to emphasize, the tendency to the i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n of food and thence to convergence finds i t s roots not s o l e l y i n production l o g i c , but i n the i n t e r a c t i o n of production economies and consumptive needs through the medium of c i r c u l a t i o n . F i n a l l y , one can not simply extract an economic sector such as the food sector and analyze i t independently of the dynamics of s o c i a l formations as a whole. Again i t i s necessary to examine the geographical s p e c i f i c i t i e s of an unfolding t o t a l i t y of forces and dynamics. One can come to a broad understanding of a l o g i c of a generalized and abstract system such as the food system, but t h i s analysis must be set i n the context of l o c a l contingency where i n f a c t the broader dynamics are played out i n concrete space. The key then, i s i n t e r a c t i o n . In what follows the emphasis i s on the importance of these kinds of i n t e r a c t i o n . The goals of the paper are to come to a geographical awareness rather than to present a t h e o r e t i c a l explanation. While t h i s approach abrogates the imposition of simple d e f i n i t i v e explanation, i t does allow for a f u l l e r geographical understanding of a p a r t i c u l a r trend i n a p a r t i c u l a r place. This would seem to be the mandate of 6 geography, to see how generalized trends and/or generalizing theory play out i n a s p e c i f i c place. Thus, we focus on the a r t i c u l a t i o n of the general and the s p e c i f i c as they are expressed i n the uniqueness of each place. Such an approach does not deny the u t i l i t y or the p o s s i b i l i t y of uncovering any generalizable conclusions as to the nature of s o c i a l change. Rather, i t emphasizes the fact that these generalizations are s p a t i a l l y variable and require i n s i t u research to f i n d t h e i r usefulness i n each geographically and h i s t o r i c a l l y s p e c i f i c instance. In terms of the research agenda of t h i s thesis, the increasing impingement of what I w i l l c a l l c a p i t a l i s t patterns of regulation (as d i s t i n c t from the r e g u l a t i o n i s t s ' modes of regulation -- see footnote 1) are the d r i v i n g forces behind the changes i n the Hong Kong food system. A c o r o l l a r y to t h i s assertion i s the suggestion that these l o c a l patterns are increasingly coming to mimic the broader patterns at a world scale. The degree to which these patterns of regulation come to r e f l e c t those of the world food system, i s the degree to which the convergence process i s manifest. However, i t i s not possible to predict p r e c i s e l y how t h i s trend i s l i k e l y to develop i n various milieux, or i n various sub-markets or sectors. Indeed, i t i s i n the complexity and variance i n the way the food i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n process occurs that one finds i t s e s s e n t i a l 'strength' and the most i n t e r e s t i n g research issues. 7 C. RESEARCH FOCI. 1. Consumption. a. Why Consumption? This paper emphasizes consumption s h i f t s as i t s bottom l i n e for a number of reasons. F i r s t , the act of consumption i n general tends to be more s o c i o - s p a t i a l l y d i f f u s e than production, everybody does i t . Secondly, the act of consumption i s very much t i e d up i n the concept of entitlement (Sen 1981). What and where a person consumes r e f l e c t s l o c a l s o c i a l structures. Consumption patterns are thus l i k e l y to be highly i l l u s t r a t i v e of the i n t e r a c t i o n of agency and structure. In t h i s thesis the aim i s to examine manifestations of t h i s i n t e r a c t i o n and to t r y and discern any more deeply seated, less overt changes i n the s t r u c t u r a l contexts of i n d i v i d u a l choice. T h i r d l y , and perhaps most importantly, consumption i s the central research issue because changes i n consumption patterns express the r e s u l t of the in t e r a c t i o n of various global generalizing forces and i n t r i c a c i e s of l o c a l contingency i n concrete action by i n d i v i d u a l agents. ( i . e . , the act of consumption instantiates the s t r u c t u r a l r e s u l t of the a r t i c u l a t i o n of sca l e s ) . 8 • b. The 'Modernization' of Consumption Patterns. More s p e c i f i c a l l y , the concern here i s with consumption patterns which are experiencing change, p a r t i c u l a r l y what has been c a l l e d the modernization of consumption patterns (McGee 1985). The phrase 'modernization' of consumption patterns refers to q u a l i t a t i v e and quantitative s h i f t s i n the expenditure p r o f i l e of a given populace. T y p i c a l l y , these changes are characterized by an a generalized increase i n consumption leve l s ( i . e . towards mass-consumption) and i n a s h i f t towards increased expenditures on 'non-essentials', l i k e consumer durables. The modernization of consumption practices i s a r e f l e c t i o n and a source of the emergence (and a r t i c u l a t i o n ) of l o c a l and global mass-markets (McGee 1985). I t i s made possible by recent increases i n the speed and ease of the c i r c u l a t i o n of goods, c a p i t a l and ideas. The nature of t h i s process i s shaped by a number of forces ranging from the requisites of transnational c a p i t a l , to government p o l i c y , to changes i n the structure and needs of the family (Laurant 1984). Paradoxically, despite the d i v e r s i t y of sources and the v a r i a b i l i t y of l o c a l contingency, the trend to modernizing consumption patterns seems to be leading to common results --the convergence of consumption patterns. 9 c. The Convergence of Consumption Patterns The concept of convergence has d i f f e r e n t connotations i n d i f f e r e n t d i s c i p l i n e s . I t i s used i n t h i s paper i n a very broad way to describe the apparent gradual u n i f i c a t i o n of global consumption norms towards an evolving global standard. More s p e c i f i c a l l y , the focus of the present inquiry i s on how t h i s process occurs and i s manifest i n terms of food consumption. Increasingly, goods (be they movies, clothing or foodstuffs) are coming to be as commonly found (and purchased) i n Kinshasa as Rome. The convergence process i s linked to the increasing f l u i d i t y and pervasiveness of the global c i r c u l a t i o n of ideas, goods and c a p i t a l . The decline i n distance f r i c t i o n has brought more and more of the world into the ambit of a global market place. The impact of enhanced c i r c u l a t i o n has received much attention i n the world systems (Wallerstein 1974; Wallerstein and Hopkins 1980) and 'new i n t e r n a t i o n a l d i v i s i o n of labour' (Frobel et a l . 1980) l i t e r a t u r e s . Those discussions tend to focus on the d i s t r i b u t i o n of various facets and factors of production. Yet, the increased i n t e n s i t y of c i r c u l a t i o n also comes to impact modes of consumption as well. I t increases the a v a i l a b i l i t y and marketability of various goods around the world, i t f a c i l i t a t e s the emergence of a global marketplace - a global mass-market. This marketplace i s increasingly subject to a global market r a t i o n a l i t y , as 10 expressed i n the growing predominance of i n d u s t r i a l foods. As t h i s mass market grows and comes to g i r d the globe, the goods within i t become increasingly geographically common. d. Two Routes to Changes i n Consumption Patterns. Changes i n consumption practices occur v i a two main routes, one i s centered i n the s p e c i f i c product sector, the other i s located i n the s o c i a l formation as a whole. One can term these 'direct' and 'indirect' (These groupings have a high degree of i n t e r f a c e ) . The d i r e c t route to consumption and food system changes i s r e l a t i v e l y confined to the dynamics of the  p a r t i c u l a r market sector (eg. food). I t includes the s t r u c t u r a l dynamics of the l o c a l and world food systems and th e i r i n t e r a c t i o n and a r t i c u l a t i o n with each other and the consumer. An example of t h i s kind of change i s found i n frozen foods. Freezing i s an important part of the i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n of foodstuffs. I t allows food to be transported great distances and gives i t a longer s h e l f - l i f e . I t also requires changes i n the l o c a l d i s t r i b u t i o n system and (often) i n household technologies. These changes reshape the very nature of the l o c a l food system and thus a l t e r the context of consumption. Such changes both e f f e c t and r e f l e c t the dynamics of the a r t i c u l a t i o n of l o c a l and global tendencies. They come to reshape the nature of the l o c a l food system and thus e f f e c t consumption p o s s i b i l i t i e s . A less overt but no less c r i t i c a l facet of the impact i n the d i r e c t route to consumption change i s to be found i n the impact of competition. Competition from mass produced goods, goods produced by highly s p e c i a l i z e d producers and ' s c i e n t i f i c ' d i s t r i b u t i o n and marketing techniques and technologies ( a l l discussed below) have forced l o c a l entrepreneurs to modify the way they address the market. In doing so t h i s competition a l t e r s the l o c a l food system. The d i r e c t route to changes i n the food sector i s both a context and an outcome of changing food consumption patterns. The d i r e c t route to changes i n the food system and consumption i s the primary focus of t h i s paper, i t r e f l e c t s and shapes how the process of convergence i s occurring within the broader parameters of the s o c i a l formation as a whole. Food consumption patterns are also effected by forces la r g e l y outside the s p e c i f i c market sector. These forces one might term the 'ind i r e c t ' route to changes i n consumption patterns. In t h i s grouping one may include the impacts of i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n and urbanization (or more broadly put, 's o c i a l change') and other, perhaps less obvious, factors which e f f e c t general consumer behaviour l i k e advertising, status emulation or the commodification of s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s . 12 The two routes to changing consumption patterns act i n an integrated manner. In unison the combination of these trends seems to be leading to an ineluctable tendency towards an i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n of food. This i s perhaps not too surprising, the success of the i n d u s t r i a l palate i s the r e s u l t of the competitive edge of i n d u s t r i a l foods i n i n d u s t r i a l settings. In a schematic sense one can outline the nature of the two routes to consumption s h i f t s thus, Sphere T r a i t * Production Increasing Capital Intensity C i r c u l a t i o n Growth of the Mass Market Consumption Increasing Purchase of Value-added Indirect Direct Factors Factors *note: thickness of t r i a n g l e indicates proportional l e v e l of impact. Along these l i n e s one can envision the productive sphere (with i t s increasing c a p i t a l intensity) as being the motor behind the emergence of i n d u s t r i a l food (and thus convergence); the c i r c u l a t o r y sphere as being the f a c i l i t a t o r of the emergence of a mass market for i n d u s t r i a l foods; and the consumption sphere as shaping the s p e c i f i c foodstuffs required (within the constraints and p o s s i b i l i t i e s of the o v e r a l l market and l o c a l s o c i a l formation). 13 e. In Summation. As implied above, consumption per se can not be considered i n an i s o l a t e d manner. Consumption patterns are an i n t e g r a l part of a larger 'market system' and of a s p e c i f i c , grounded s o c i a l system. They r e f l e c t and e f f e c t dynamics of various kinds at various scales. I t i s , therefore, necessary to  examine the process of converging consumption practices i n context, within a given sector and i n a s p e c i f i c place. The following analysis looks at changes i n a l o c a l food system and i s set i n the context of rapid s o c i a l change and modernization within a s p e c i f i c urban milieu -- Hong Kong. 2. Food as Research Focus. a. Why Food? I think that i t can be pl a u s i b l y argued that changes i n d i e t are more important than changes of dynasty or even r e l i g i o n . (George Orwell, c i t e d i n Barnett and Muller 1979) The food sector seems a p a r t i c u l a r l y useful unit of an analysis for a number of reasons. Perhaps the primary reason i s that food consumption i s so ubiquitous. It i s very much a part of the 'everyday' i n a t r u l y Braudelian sense (Braudel 1973 or Wallerstein 1984 or c f . Giddens 1984). Food 14 consumption patterns are a fundamental part of the routines of l i f e . Thus, changes i n eating habits might be expected to illuminate other more sublimated s o c i a l forces of 'longue  duree' such as s h i f t s i n l o c a l patterns of regulation. Food consumption i s at once a very s o c i a l and a very i n d i v i d u a l repast. I t i s a c r i t i c a l variable i n s o c i a l and in d i v i d u a l reproduction ( i n both p r a c t i c a l and s o c i o l o g i c a l senses). I t i s surrounded by a halo of s o c i a l mores and driven by the basic necessity -- hunger. Because dietary patterns are so common and so important they can provide one with a good deal of information about a place and a people (see Arnott 1975; Douglas 1972; Khare 1977; Lindenbaum 1986). 2 Margaret Mead (1964) has gone so far as to suggest that one can 'read' a meal. This assertion i s v a l i d but only to a point, the crux of the matter i s more d i f f u s e . Diet must be seen as a mode of reconstituting a s o c i a l context within the set t i n g of that context. In t h i s view di e t i s an i n t e g r a l part of the s o c i a l discourse (Smart 1985; T h r i f t 1983). As Mary Douglas writes, Each meal c a r r i e s something of the meaning of other meals; each meal i s a structured s o c i a l event which structures others i n i t s own image. But the structuring i s not simply r e p e t i t i o n and reinforcement; following the li n e s of contextual analysis, we must also see the elements as reacting to the d i f f e r e n t situations i n which they occur (1972:69). 15 Thus, food consumption patterns must be seen as occurring within t h e i r s t r u c t u r a l contexts; one can not examine the one without the other. Eating patterns are p a r t i c u l a r l y i n d i c a t i v e as to the interplay of taste and need; choice and constraint. Diet, i t seems, i n many ways epitomizes the see-saw balance of agency and structure. (Giddens 1984, T h r i f t 1983). b. The Structural Contexts of Food Habits. i ) Defining the Nature of Structure. The question then becomes how does one define t h i s 'structure'3? The structures of human actions are notoriously d i f f i c u l t to define. In the s o c i a l sciences i n general there i s a continuum between those who view the dominant nature of structure to dwell i n the realm of the i d e a l and those who adopt a more m a t e r i a l i s t i c approach. So too with food studies. In a very rudimentary manner the various approaches to food habits and t h e i r s t r u c t u r a l contexts may be delineated thus, 1) 'Food as Thought'. Levi-Straus asserted that people consumed s p e c i f i c food items not because they were good to eat but because they were 'good to think' (1963:89). Food consumption i n t h i s model was the r e s u l t of the r e s u l t of "fundamental themes i n the human psyche" (Harris 1987:59). 2) 'Food as Meaning'. Mary Douglas, i n p a r t i c u l a r (1972, 1984) has emphasized the communicative meaning of dietary patterns, suggesting that meals are expressions. They reveal both i n d i v i d u a l expression and dominant c u l t u r a l norms (cf. Khare 1976; Sahlins 1976). 3) 'Psyco-biological Determinants of Food Consumption Patterns'. This view t r i e s to meld phy s i o l o g i c a l and psychological factors to explain the nature of food consumption. (Barthes 1979; Harper 1957; Rozin 1982). 4) 'Cultural-Ecology of Food'. Marvin Harris, i n reaction to the more i d e a l i s t approaches, has s t r i v e n to show the underlying m a t e r i a l i s t sources of what the i d e a l i s t s had come to term i r r a t i o n a l food consumption choices, (see Harris 1966) His work emphasizes n u t r i t i o n a l requirements and the systems of food d i s t r i b u t i o n . This school takes an avowedly m a t e r i a l i s t i c approach to food habits research. (Harris 1987; Ross 1987, 1980) 5) 'Food as Entitlement' Armatyra Sen, has emphasized the s o c i a l power relationships surrounding the d i s t r i b u t i o n of food. Though his work i s primarily concerned with famines, his focus on the power relationships behind food consumption patterns highlights the fa c t that food consumption i s both an a r t i f a c t of subsistence needs and of s o c i a l power. (Sen 1981) 6) 'Cuisine and Class'. Jack Goody emphasizes the increasing importance of i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n and p r o l e t a r i a n i z a t i o n to the shaping of consumption patterns (1982). He focuses on the three areas of class r e l a t i o n s h i p s , mass markets and technological advances i n the production, d i s t r i b u t i o n and home preparation of food. 7) Food Industry Analysis. This body of work, dominated by American scholars, almost s o l e l y concerns i t s e l f with the economic structure of the food industry at the expense of considering the broader s o c i a l s e t t i n g . (Connor 1981, 1979; Connor and Ward 1983; Horst 1974; Mueller 1983; S i l v e r s t i e n 1984) Each of these approaches has strengths and weaknesses. They a l l , some more than others, capture a part of the t o t a l i t y of the s t r u c t u r a l forces which are defined by, and define i n d i v i d u a l choice. If one accepts Giddens* suggestion that i n d i v i d u a l agency and structure are inseparable parts of the same whole, (the 'duality' of the structure agency paradigm --Giddens 1984), then one must accept the i n d i v i d u a l as the c e n t r a l focus of s t r u c t u r a l forces. As i n d i v i d u a l s e x i s t i n d i f f e r i n g historical-geographical milieux the 'mix' of the enveloping structure w i l l also vary. What forces dominate i n the s t r u c t u r a l context of i n d i v i d u a l choice i s thus variable: requiring, i n the end, s i t e - s p e c i f i c inquiry. 18 There i s a surprising lack of work that t r i e s to integrate the above mentioned approaches and place them i n a contemporary context. Thus, there i s r e a l l y no model approach to a s s i s t i n the analysis of the question at hand. The approach developed i n t h i s paper l i e s somewhere between the approaches of Harris and Goody. I t might be termed the contemporary i n d u s t r i a l  ecology of food. Accepting that the informative content of food consumption patterns may be important (especially i n the realm of the conspicuous consumption of fas t foods) i t i s none-the-less possible to adopt a m a t e r i a l i s t approach which takes t h i s into account but more f u l l y examines the 'nuts and bolts' of the process of dietary change. The focus of t h i s paper i s on the changing structure of the food system, broadly defined as the physical/material apparatuses for the production, processing and d i s t r i b u t i o n of food and how these changes e f f e c t and r e f l e c t s h i f t s i n o v e r a l l consumption patterns. As the thesis goes on to demonstrate, i t i s evident that the 'concrete abstraction' of c a p i t a l i s t regulation i s coming to play an increasingly large role i n shaping the material structure of the Hong Kong food system, and thus, the nature of available foods. This paper does not seek to suggest that t h i s i s the only facet of the s t r u c t u r a l context of i n d i v i d u a l choice, merely that i t i s increasingly the dominant force i n shaping the Hong Kong food system and thus l o c a l food habits. 19 Food systems are composed of 20 b i l l i o n US$ corporations l i k e Unilever and sub-subsistence peasants or hawkers. Together, i n interplay with consumer choice they shape and are shaped by the broad outlines of the food system as a whole (see Armstrong 1986). The food system, as a c e n t r a l part of the 'structure' of food choices i s the sum of, and context for multiple le v e l s and kinds of i n t e r a c t i o n . i i ) Defining the Scale of Structure. A second question to ari s e i s , therefore, what are the s p a t i a l confines of such a 'system'? Increasingly the answer i s that l o c a l food systems are no longer bound by l o c a l horizons. Advances i n c i r c u l a t i o n technologies have greatly extended the range of actors and 'forces' which impinge on a l o c a l food system, expanding the scale of the enveloping structure, making i t less and less an independent l o c a l food system and more and more a constituent part of larger, indeed global food system. Local food consumption patterns were, u n t i l quite recently, la r g e l y circumscribed by the nature and dynamics of the l o c a l s o c i a l formation and the l o c a l food system. (though few ' t r a d i t i o n a l ' l o c a l food systems were ever completely independent -- Goody 1982:187) These systems were i n turn usually t i g h t l y o r ganically linked to each other and l o c a l 2 0 ecologies. Local i s o l a t e d food systems were/are often very i d i o s y n c r a t i c , based on an eco-cultural linkage to the nature of l o c a l place. The primary regulator of cuisine was the nature of the l o c a l ecology, fused through the nature of l o c a l s o c i a l dynamics and power structures. Indeed d i e t i s one of the most distinguishing features of t r a d i t i o n a l s o c i e t i e s and ethnic groups. It i s an overt manifestation of the unity of a people, t h e i r l i n k s to each other and to a given place. Changes brought about by urbanization (eg. leaving the land), i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n , increased levels of c i r c u l a t i o n and the monetization of s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s have changed the nature of numerous facets of day to day l i f e . One area where these fundamental s h i f t s are most apparent i s i n changing food consumption patterns. These s h i f t s are r e f l e c t i v e of the increasing horizons of the l o c a l food system. The s h i f t towards global food consumption norms i s i n d i c a t i v e of the increasing importance and relevance of the c a p i t a l i s t world food system. c. In Summation. Diet and cuisine are highly structured patternings of consumption. In t h e i r r e p e t i t i o n and change they r e f l e c t and e f f e c t changes i n the p r i n c i p a l patterns of regulation. Food consumption patterns, therefore, provide an important focus and 21 a useful frame tor examining the process of s o c i a l change i n  s i t u . 3. Hong Kong. a. Why Hong Kong? The s e l e c t i o n of Hong Kong as the case study has a number of sources. F i r s t , food i s a central facet of Cantonese culture. The meal i s the locus of much s o c i a l a c t i v i t y ; the food, the bearer of much s o c i a l meaning. Anderson (1977c) has argued strongly that t r a d i t i o n a l Cantonese cuisine i s c l o s e l y integrated with l o c a l e c o l o g i c a l parameters. He argues that i t presents an excellent example of the melding of s o c i a l patterns and environmental r e q u i s i t e s . I t represents food consumption patterns c l o s e l y linked to l o c a l eco-cultural patterns -- to l o c a l place. Thus, s h i f t s away from t h i s dietary pattern may be i n d i c a t i v e of the introduction of new patterns of regulation i n the l o c a l milieu. As t h i s paper w i l l go on to illuminate these patterns seem less linked to the nature of l o c a l place and are more e x p l i c i t l y shaped by the dynamics of a rather more i n d u s t r i a l l o g i c . In t h i s regard Hong Kong i s a fascina t i n g amalgam of dietary consistency and change. The people of Hong Kong are j u s t i f i a b l y proud of t h e i r cuisine. Its success around the world i s i n d i c a t i v e of the fac t that Cantonese cuisine i s not a moribund, weak or i n f e r i o r dietary regime. Yet despite the apparent strength of the l o c a l d i e t there are r a d i c a l changes occurring i n the d a i l y dietary patterns of the people of Hong Kong. Hong Kong provides one with an excellent case of a society (largely Cantonese) wedded to i t s cuisine (to the point of chauvinism, Anderson 1977a:13) yet increasingly f l i r t i n g with the norms of the global i n d u s t r i a l palate. A second reason why Hong Kong presents a useful unit of analysis l i e s i n i t s rather 'contained' nature. Though the term 'c i t y - s t a t e ' i s something of a misnomer, Hong Kong does present the investigator with a f a i r l y d iscreet package. The r e s u l t of the interplay of micro and macro i s expressed i n the meso-scale of the Hong Kong milieu as a whole. Thus our primary unit of analysis i s the Hong Kong food system as a whole, and the place that food consumption patterns have i n that s e t t i n g . Hong Kong i s also an urban setting which i s r e l a t i v e l y free from a larger p o l i t i c a l l y (and s t a t i s t i c a l l y ) integrated hinterland. Thus, rural-urban p o l i t i c s and dynamics play less of a role i n Hong Kong than they do elsewhere.^ Further, the trends discussed i n t h i s paper tend to be most manifest i n urban areas. As the colony of Hong Kong i s predominantly urban, i t provides an almost unique opportunity to access 'national' data that focuses on the urban s e t t i n g . 23 A t h i r d point i s that Hong Kong depends on imports for 80% of i t s foodstuffs. Thus, i t i s deeply a r t i c u l a t e d with the world food system. Granted, t h i s makes Hong Kong somewhat unique, but i t also makes Hong Kong an excellent bellwether. Hong Kong's rel a t i o n s h i p with the global food system seems l i k e l y to be i n d i c a t i v e of forces and trends which are present but less manifest i n other developing c i t i e s or nations. A fourth feature, related to the above, concerns Hong Kong's int e r n a t i o n a l o r i e n t a t i o n . The post-war decline i n Hong Kong's role as entrepot for the China trade and the huge i n f l u x of refugees from China led to Hong Kong's aggressive engagement of the post Bretton-Woods world economy. Hong Kong i s perhaps the pioneer and premier example of the aggressive l a i s s e z - f a i r e internationalism of the Asian NIC's, or " L i t t l e Dragons". Their i n t e r n a t i o n a l i s t p o l i c i e s , which coincided with a burgeoning g l o b a l i z a t i o n of c a p i t a l and production, are credited with t h e i r rapid growth rates and coincident levels of s o c i a l change. These developments have attracted a good deal of i n t e r e s t to t h e i r production sectors. However, the i n t e r n a t i o n a l i s t ethos can have equally important ramifications for the consumption sector (cf. Filguera 1981), as t h i s thesis w i l l demonstrate. A number of authors have i d e n t i f i e d the pervasiveness of the entrepreneurial s p i r i t and the role of small enterprise as 24 keys to an understanding of Hong Kong. As C a s t e l l s writes: This pattern of development on the basis of small business continuously adapting to a changing world environment i s at the roots of the h i s t o r i c a l process of the development of Hong Kong. (Castells 1986:113; see also Peattie 1985; Hopkins 1971:160; or Lethbridge and Hong 1984) For present purposes t h i s a d a p t a b i l i t y i s useful i n that subtle changes i n the nature of supply and demand parameters may become more r e a d i l y v i s i b l e (at least s t a t i s t i c a l l y apparent) as they are acted upon by i n d i v i d u a l entrepreneurs. The success or f a i l u r e of these entrepreneurs i s dependent on t h e i r s o c i o l o g i c a l acumen.^ They e x p l i c i t l y act as interpreters of the changing l o c a l milieu (and of i t s interplay with external forces) as well as being agents of change. In Hong Kong, with i t s free market, these entrepreneurs play a v i t a l r ole i n expressing and defining the parameters of changing food consumption patterns. b. In Summation. Thus, Hong Kong seems to present the p r o f i l e of a sens i t i v e barometer which should prove h e l p f u l i n gauging the impact and nature of various pressures e f f e c t i n g consumption patterns i n NICs i n general. I t w i l l also prove a useful case study for i l l u s t r a t i n g the nuts and bolts of how the contexts of consumption -- food systems -- have displayed a tendency towards c a p i t a l i n t e n s i f i c a t i o n , i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n and i n t e r n a t i o n a l i z a t i o n . These are the c a t a l y t i c trends which r e f l e c t the impingement of the c a p i t a l i s t patterns of regulation and which underlie the convergence of consumption practices. Yet before moving onto a more s p e c i f i c consideration of the processes of change i n Hong Kong i t i s necessary to outline the nature of the global food system (the generalizing macro forces). 26 CHAPTER I I . THE INDUSTRIAL PALATE. A. THE FOUNDATIONS OF THE INDUSTRIALIZATION OF FOOD. I n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n ^ underlies the convergence process. I t permits and requires the extension and expansion of the global mass market i n foods. More than anything else i t i s i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n which reshapes the nature of foodstuffs from that of a l o c a l product to global commodity. The convergence of food consumption patterns i s characterized by, and a r e s u l t of the emergence of the ' i n d u s t r i a l palate'. The phrase 'the i n d u s t r i a l palate' refers to the increasingly manufactured nature of the foodstuffs consumed i n most of the world ( p a r t i c u l a r l y i n c i t i e s ) . At a global scale, an increasing l e v e l of c a p i t a l - i n t e n s i t y i n food systems i s rapidly turning food into an i n d u s t r i a l commodity. H i s t o r i c a l l y , the food system has been dominated by the process of production and consumption within the same household, but with increasing urbanization and changes i n the c a p i t a l - i n t e n s i t y and technology of food production, storage, transportation, processing, r e t a i l i n g , and preparation, a larger proportion of food i s being consumed by non-producers. The geographical separation of the consumption and production of food, e s p e c i a l l y when set i n the context of an expanding and deepening c a p i t a l i s t marketplace, i s leading to a decline i n the geographical s p e c i f i c i t i e s of l o c a l food systems. Though the trend towards i n t e n s i f i c a t i o n i s driven by c a p i t a l i s t competition, i t i s also f u e l l e d and shaped by changes less d i r e c t l y linked to the food system, s p e c i f i c a l l y the s o c i a l implications of urbanization and i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n within the context of increasing global c i r c u l a t i o n . Urbanization provided a setting and a need for i n d u s t r i a l food products. As urban populations are almost by d e f i n i t i o n divorced from 'the land', they need to buy most of th e i r foodstuffs -- t h i s i s a primary basis of the commodification of foodstuffs. Because foods needed to be transported to the c i t y and often stored before vending, there was a need to process them to decrease t h e i r p e r i s h a b i l i t y and to increase t h e i r marketability. The increased demand for foods i n urban areas also increased the range of supply areas, enhancing the need for processing and preservation. In t h i s way urbanization provided an imperative and a market for the emergence of processed foodstuffs. 28 Another factor which increased the demand for processed foods was i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n i t s e l f . I n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n increased the demand for processed foods as people moved of f the land and as household time-economies were altered and women joined the work-force outside the household (Goody 1982). I n d u s t r i a l labouring required that consumers purchase an increasing share of t h e i r food needs. The growth of c a p i t a l i s t i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n led to a general commodification of a l l goods including food and, some would argue, the commodification of s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s . As the cash nexus deepened and the s o c i a l ramifications of i n d u s t r i a l labouring became manifest the propensity to purchase i n d u s t r i a l goods, including food was also enhanced. I n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n provided a major source of the demand for processed foods but i t has also provided the means to s a t i s f y those s p e c i f i c needs. I n d u s t r i a l development affected the types of food produced and the way those foods were processed. The manufacturing of foodstuffs increased t h e i r s u i t a b i l i t y for emergent market niches and extended t h e i r s h e l f - l i f e , thus extending t h e i r market. B. THE INDUSTRIALIZATION AND INTERNATIONALIZATION OF THE FOOD SECTOR. The basic parameters of c a p i t a l i s t i n d u s t r i a l production are r e l a t i v e l y well understood and the food industry exhibits most expected trends. In general, there has been a very marked increase i n c a p i t a l input of a l l facets of food production and downstream as well (this assertion i s more c l e a r l y demonstrated i n the Hong Kong case studies). Whether one holds that t h i s trend i s a r e s u l t of an i n - b u i l t d e c lining rate of p r o f i t or the competitive drive to increased productivity, the increased c a p i t a l input into one's d a i l y bread seems indisputable. (Burns 1983; Conner 1984; Howe 1983; Sorj and Wilkenson 1985; U.N. 1981) The increasing l e v e l o f c a p i t a l input into economic a c t i v i t y i s manifest i n increasing use of machinery, i n the food sector t h i s leads to the i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n of food. Like most commodities, foodstuffs have also become an i n d u s t r i a l product. However, the food sector i s rather unique i n that foods are at base not t y p i c a l i n d u s t r i a l commodities. 7 1. Food as I n d u s t r i a l Commodity. Though the food sector exhibits t r a i t s s i m i l a r to other economic sectors there are some features of food as commodity which present a rather unique p r o f i l e . Food i s not a * t y p i c a l ' i n d u s t r i a l good. I t can be distinguished from other goods i n a number of ways. As i t i s an e s s e n t i a l good, i t tends to be more recession r e s i s t a n t than other commodities. This t r a i t has made food an a t t r a c t i v e investment area for transnationals looking to d i v e r s i f y (see Burns et a l 1983). 30 The food sector provides one with an excellent case for the importance of integrating production 'logics' into a more h o l i s t i c perspective which considers the roles of c i r c u l a t i o n and consumption. Capital i n t e n s i f i c a t i o n i n the food sector i s also a r e s u l t of forces of consumption i n regards to the nature of food as a commodity. Though food i s less subject to wide fluctuations i n demand due to i t s r e l a t i v e price and income i n e l a s t i c i t y , these t r a i t s also make i t d i f f i c u l t to sustain p r o f i t s and market expansion. This i s because food i s at base a staple; staples are very pr i c e and income i n e l a s t i c . The share of staples i n the t o t a l consumption p r o f i l e i s l i k e l y to decline as incomes r i s e (as outlined by Engel's Law) and l o c a l markets expand (see the section on consumption). In order to maintain t h e i r return on investment food companies must add value to the foods they produce and/or seek other markets. (see Howe 1983; BusinessWeek. 1/12/73) The methods of achieving the goals of value-addition and market expansion are often c a p i t a l - i n t e n s i v e . Further, t h i s value-addition does not, i n general, occur on the farm; but through i n d u s t r i a l processing or marketing techniques. The dominant l o g i c i n the food sector i s not simply cost reduction through the u t i l i z a t i o n of machinery but also of value-addition through higher levels of processing and 31 a d v e r t i s i n g 7 . The producer/processor can add value by further processing a given foodstuff to meet or reach a perceived p o t e n t i a l market; or value-addition can be achieved through marketing techniques which portray the good to have more 'value' than i t i n t r i n s i c a l l y possesses. Usually marketing strategies combine these two modes of value-addition. In t h i s way, although the production sector i s the motor behind increasing le v e l s of c a p i t a l i n t e n s i t y the shape and the l o g i c behind the process i s market driven. That i s , consumption factors play an important role i n shaping the resultant dynamic. a) Food Processing. A p a r t i c u l a r l y unique feature of food as a commodity i s i t s p e r i s h a b i l i t y . E a r l i e r i n t h i s paper the need to process food to increase i t s geographical range was alluded to. A second, related unique feature of food i s i t s seasonality. Processing extends the market for foods i n both space and time. Processing provides for the year-round a v a i l a b i l i t y of foodstuffs. This i s important to food producers because i n general the demand for food types i s not as seasonal as t h e i r production. In t h i s way demand parameters e f f e c t the l e v e l of secondary processing. However, the tendency to increasing lev e l s of processing i s not s o l e l y based on preservation needs. Grieg (1984) has shown the importance of factors other thanpreservation i n the t e r r i f i c increase i n potato processing. He shows that potatoes, which are available year round i n the US at reasonable levels of price and q u a l i t y have no inherent need for processing. Yet over the l a s t three decades potato processing has increased a tremendous amount. (see Table 1.) He argues that foods are also processed for variety, convenience and q u a l i t y control reasons (1984:175) Table 1. U.S. I r i s h Potato U t i l i z a t i o n , and Per Capita Consumption, 1956 - 1979. 1956 1967 1979 U t i l i z a t i o n ( m i l l i o n cwt) .146.0 131.7 115.1 ..24.7 94.4 162.3 ..14.5 41.8 58.5 Per Capita Consumption (lbs) ..86.0 67.2 52.2 ..14.6 48.2 73.6 Source: Grieg 1984:176. These reasons are market driven, for the moment we s h a l l focus on convenience. Convenience and labour savings add to the attractiveness of foods. What i n essence producers are doing i s breaking down the food processing labour process and marketing parts of i t . The general trend seems to be to diminish the required l e v e l of home processing to meet the diminished a v a i l a b i l i t y of home food processing time which seems to accompany the i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n process. The processing of food enhances the convergence process by dispensing with 'un-economical' and 'inconvenient' variations i n home cooking. In the context of low income e l a s t i c i t i e s of demand for food, the increasing value-addition i n food also means maintaining acceptable lev e l s of growth for the food industry. b. Food Marketing. A good example of the second mode of value-addition, that i s marketing techniques, i s to be found i n such t r a d i t i o n a l l y non-branded goods as f r u i t s . Brands such as Chiquita Bananas and Sunkist Oranges t r y to circumvent the i n e l a s t i c i t y of most basic foodstuffs by heavily emphasizing brand awareness. In th i s way they t r y to increase the value of th e i r product by investing c a p i t a l into advertising and packaging. This type of marketing i s very removed from the actual a g r i c u l t u r a l production of the given foodstuff. c. In Summation. These factors l i e at the base of the c a p i t a l i n t e n s i f i c a t i o n and i n t e r n a t i o n a l i z a t i o n trends. They escalate food production into the realm of the global c a p i t a l i s t market 34 place, and therefore, provide the drive for the convergence process. 2. The World Food Industry. One r e s u l t of an increased lev e l s of c a p i t a l i n t e n s i t y and productivity i s a need for market expansion (a basic premise of 'Fordism'-- see L i p i e t z 1987, 1986, 1984; or A g l i e t t a 1979 } and market control (cf. Galbraith 1968). These trends are highly evident i n the food sector. Howe (1983:103) writes that food manufacturing has became more, c a p i t a l intensive, and one outcome of t h i s and the a v a i l a b i l i t y of economies of scale i n food processing was that manufacturers began to seek greater control over t h e i r products at the d i s t r i b u t i o n stage. Furthermore, po t e n t i a l economies of scale along with c a p i t a l intensiveness encouraged manufacturers to expand both i n t e r n a l l y and externally, leading i n a number of cases to high levels of market concentration. (Howe 1983:103) The tendency to heavily c a p i t a l i z e d food production (and d i s t r i b u t i o n techniques) i s most apparent i n very large corporations. These corporations are increasingly coming to dominate the world food system, through concentration of control . For example, "Concentration i n the U.S., measured by control of assets by 50 of the largest food processors, grew from 41 percent i n 1974 to 56 percent i n 1974..." (Whiting 1985:355 See also Howe 1983:105 for figures on the U.K.) Projections into the future at the world scale predict a continuation of these trends. A 1981 report by the U.N. Centre on Transnational Corporations suggested that, 35 one reasonable projection of future industry structure would be that the number of food processing firms w i l l continue to decline, and that the survivors w i l l be large scale, multi-product processors with a strong marketing orientation, combining within t h e i r d i v e r s i f i e d structures a v a r i e t y of linked services and manufacturing a c t i v i t i e s . " (U.N. 1981:16; see also Kaynak 1986:5) In the food sector, i n d u s t r i a l reorganization has resulted i n the creation of a smaller number of larger firms. Recent years have seen an explosion i n the size of food TNC's through merger a c t i v i t y (Business Week. 24/9/84). These firms are constantly seeking p o t e n t i a l mass-markets to f u e l t h e i r growth. (Horst 1974; Howe 1983; Whiting 1983; and Burns et a l 1983) Increasing market concentration at a global scale i s one factor which underpins convergence, as fewer corporations control more of the world food system (U.N. 1981:4; Clairmonte and Cavanaugh 1982a, 1982b:86; Lappe and C o l l i n s 1979; George 1978; Ledogar 1975; Morgan 1979; Coonor 1984; Barnet and Muller 1979) At one l e v e l i t i s the sheer size of the food giants which leads to convergence as t h e i r i n t e r n a l dynamics greatly impact the markets i n which they p a r t i c i p a t e . (Connor 1979; Feder 1976; Mueller 1983) However, food TNC's do not simply di c t a t e the dynamics of the i n d u s t r i a l palate. They (or more p r e c i s e l y t h e i r managers) are agents themselves, working i n in t e r a c t i o n with the larger structures of the world food system and the world c a p i t a l i s t marketplace. 36 3. The World I n d u s t r i a l Food System and Homogenization. An important feature of t h i s market place i s the range of scales i t includes; the global marketplace i n fact includes many l o c a l markets (e.g., Hong Kong). Because of the extreme size of the plan space of global marketers, they come to conceive of l o c a l places i n terms of th e i r functional role i n the larger geographical market. (see for example Ca s t e l l s 1985:9; Taylor and T h r i f t 1982:39) Because of the scale and c a p i t a l i n t e n s i t y of th e i r a c t i v i t i e s the plan space of transnational vendors i s heavily structured by the c r y s t a l l i n e r a t i o n a l i t y of the global c a p i t a l i s t market place. A prime consideration i n t h i s perspective i s not what the l o c a l market requires but what i t w i l l bear. As t h i s paper w i l l go on to demonstrate, the r e s u l t of t h i s perspective i s such that i t tends to lead to a geographical standardization of constituent products. The food system provides one with a rather s t e r l i n g example of the u t i l i t y of envisaging the consumption and production spheres as d i s t i n c t but i n t e r l i n k e d e n t i t i e s , (see Urry 1981:102) These e n t i t i e s are linked through c i r c u l a t i o n . Increased c i r c u l a t i o n connects the abstract realms of consumption and production but i t also l i n k s the plan space of the transnational and l o c a l , situated consumption. Increasing scales of production f a c i l i t a t e c e r t a i n economies and meet the needs of large scale c a p i t a l but they also require mass-consumption. The i n d u s t r i a l palate i s a re s u l t of the fusion of the symbiotic tendencies to c a p i t a l accumulation and market dissemination. C i r c u l a t i o n patterns manifest and f a c i l i t a t e the linkages between the 'logics' of production systems and the potentials of consumption. C i r c u l a t i o n activates the accumulation process but also extends i t s impact. At base i t i s through c i r c u l a t i o n that the c a p i t a l i s t 'realizes' the f r u i t s of investment (Urry 1981; L i p i e t z 1987:30). Value does not accrue u n t i l the good i s exchanged i n the marketplace. Indeed, i n many ways the sphere of c i r c u l a t i o n can be viewed as being p a r t i a l l y constituted by the marketplace This market occurs i n space. C i r c u l a t i o n includes the physical transfer of goods, ideas and money over space. Recent advances i n telecommunications and transportation have greatly expanded c i r c u l a t o r y linkages and thus the si z e of p o t e n t i a l markets and arenas for investment. In the food sector these advances have been s y n e r g i s t i c a l l y linked with improved food processing and packaging technologies. Such advances i n the speed and scope of c i r c u l a t i o n are " e s s e n t i a l to the preservation and d i s t r i b u t i o n of food on a mass scale, and so to the domestic d i e t of the new p r o l e t a r i a t . " ( Goody 1982:166) 38 In order to achieve a threshold market share the large food company needs to f i n d a meeting point between i t s needs and a b i l i t i e s and the f e l t needs of consumers (see Kobrin 1979). Naturally, the closer t h i s equation comes to the corporate v i s i o n the better. This v i s i o n i s one dominated by the r e l a t i v e l y non place-conscious r a t i o n a l i t y of the i n d u s t r i a l l o g i c of c a p i t a l accumulation (see Friedmann 1981; L i p i e t z 1980; or Raffestien and Bresso 1979) and global mass markets. It leads to a ' r a t i o n a l i z a t i o n ' of l o c a l markets. As Robert Buzzell (1983) has demonstrated, one p o t e n t i a l outcome of market r a t i o n a l i z a t i o n i s the standardization of product. He has f o r c e f u l l y argued that the p o t e n t i a l loss of market-share due to standardization i s most l i k e l y to be less important than the economies of standardization. These economies include those of 'scale' and the benefits accruing from a standard marketing plan (see also Sorenson and Weichman 1983). Third World marketing expert Erdener Kaynak agrees that despite important differences between developed and less developed countries' national markets the benefits of standardization can be overriding. He writes, ...the experience of a growing number of companies operating i n LDCs suggests that there are also r e a l p o t e n t i a l gains i n an integrated approach to marketing planning i n these countries. Standardization of marketing programs may permit substantial cost savings as well as greater awareness and impact i n dealing with consumers of LDCs. (Kaynak 1982:5) Though the 'standardization model' i s - s t i l l the subject of some contention (see for example, Kaynak ed. 1985), the general consensus among marketing s p e c i a l i s t s i s that the " g l o b a l i z a t i o n of markets i s at hand".(Kaynak 1985:6) Harvard 'marketing guru' Theodore L e v i t t i s r e l e n t l e s s i n his emphasis of t h i s point. He argues that the successful global corporation, "looks at the nations of the world not for how they are d i f f e r e n t , but for how they are a l i k e ... i t seeks to standardize everything into a global mode". (L e v i t t 1986:22) The ultimate aim i s to become geo-centric. Geo-centricity i s the state "where the firm treats a l l markets as a u n i f i e d whole". (Kaynak 1985:12; for a f u l l e r discussion of geo-centricity see Granner 1980) I t i s important to emphasize that standardization i s a geographical trend. For example, the vast p r o l i f e r a t i o n of s l i g h t l y d i f f e r e n t i a t e d products (eg. breakfast cereals) might seem to b e l i e the present assertions regarding standardization. S i m i l a r l y , the work of Holmes and others on the role of the s p e c i f i c a t i o n of market niches i n the ' r e - i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n ' of North America might lead one to question the u t i l i t y of a mass market model i n a 'post modern' world 9. However, the apparent wealth of, and s e n s i t i v i t y to consumption choices does not r e a l l y undermine the present argument. The point i s that convergence i s not a matter of the gradual decline i n the number of choices available ( i e . market homogenization) but i s 40 a process wherein these choices are increasingly g l o b a l l y standardized ( i e . geographical homogenization). Though advances i n production technologies i n c e r t a i n sectors have f a c i l i t a t e d a greater variance i n product offerings two facts remain c l e a r . F i r s t , advances such as these occur almost exclusively on big t i c k e t items. This leads one to a second point, the costs i n product d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n must be borne by someone. Thus, producers must gain an increase i n either t h e i r product margin, by extracting a great deal of value-addition from each consumer ( i . e . , i n spe c i a l i z e d , conspicuous consumption goods); or they have to recoup production costs that arise from s e r v i c i n g s p e c i f i c market niches by spreading t h e i r market geographically. These perogatives do v e t a i l n i c e l y with the e a r l i e r arguments regarding value-addition. They draw the close l i n k s between the production and consumption sectors. To bring consumers on side, the new i n d u s t r i a l products need to be sold, the vendors need to 'create customers' (L e v i t t 1981). This can be done i n a number of ways, from advertising, to meeting changing l i f e - s t y l e requirements (or creating them) through the e f f i c i e n c y of delivery, to price competition. A subtle d i s t i n c t i o n i s needed here. Value addition through product innovation focuses on the broad nature of consumer demand (because of the need for the mass-market), not on l o c a l s p e c i f i c s , however, advertising may be more c l e a r l y focused on l o c a l audiences. Corporations may 'segment' parts of t h e i r marketing scheme (see Sorenson and Weichman 1983), but the c e n t r a l fact i s that the actual foods are geographically standardized. In order to spread a segmented market across space the producer needs to i d e n t i f y market segments which are l i k e l y to be geographically common (or can be made so). For example, the large scale vendor i s l i k e l y to be more interested i n finding a niche that broadly serves a l l i n d u s t r i a l s o c i e t i e s (e.g., quick preparation, l i t t l e clean-up) than a s p e c i f i c national market (e.g., string-hoppers i n S r i Lanka). Further, the types of niches that i n d u s t r i a l vendors i d e n t i f y are themselves often s o c i a l manifestations of the i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n process. Thus, the ethos of c a p i t a l i s t i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n comes to dominate the form and the function of food. 4. In Summation. This section of the paper has outlined the broad s t r u c t u r a l nature of the macro-level forces which are increasingly impinging on the Hong Kong food system. I t has demonstrated the drive behind increasing c a p i t a l i n t e n s i f i c a t i o n , market expansion and standardization. The combination of these macro-level tendencies, which aris e i n the production sphere, i s the motor behind, converging food 42 consumption practices, ... the trend of i n d u s t r i a l food has been to reduce the differences within and between s o c i o - c u l t u r a l systems. Processed food i s more or less the same i n Ealing as i n Edinburgh; the aim of the manufacturers i s to get as wide and as standard a d i s t r i b u t i o n as possible. Corn Flakes make th e i r appearance on Ghanian breakfast tables; coca-cola i s available where-ever the company has been able to make a p r o f i t a b l e agreement. (Goody 1982:64) Though t h i s discussion has focused on the large-scale vendor, the paper w i l l show how other agents at other 'levels' of the food system face similar choices/constraints. The grammar of the c a p i t a l i s t market place has permeated deeply into many so c i e t i e s coming to order day-to-day l i f e i n terms of c a p i t a l i s t economic r a t i o n a l i t y . This i s the patterned canvas which l i e s beneath the unfolding scene. Capitalism's expansion i n the contexts of i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n and urbanization has resulted i n the transformation of peoples most basic requirement -- food -- from a part of t h e i r 'place', to a placeless i n d u s t r i a l commodity. 43 CHAPTER I I I . THE HONG KONG MILIEU. The proceeding section of the thesis outlined the broad nature of the generalizing forces at the world scale, i t i s now time to s h i f t the l e v e l of resolution, and focus on the s p e c i f i c i t i e s of the Hong Kong case. F i r s t , i t seems useful to impart some sense of the place that i s Hong Kong. A. HONG KONG, THE SETTING. Located on the 'j aws of the dragon', (see Map 1.) Hong Kong (the 'Fragrant Harbour') cli n g s to the mountainous t e r r a i n of southeast China. Its location places i t on the leading edge of Asia ( i n more ways than one). Centrally located i n the East-Asian Tokyo/Singapore axis; facing outwards to the burgeoning P a c i f i c - B a s i n ; while simultaneously minding the doorway to China, Hong Kong occupies an enviable geographical niche. Hong Kong i s a cen t r a l hub for ocean, a i r and now telecommunications t r a f f i c . Yet Hong Kong i s much more than a place on a map. Hong Kong at once epitomizes and i s unique among Asian c i t i e s . I t has a c o l o n i a l heritage (indeed s t i l l i s a colony) 44 but has maintained a- vibrancy uniquely i t s own. I t i s proudly known as that most unique of creatures, 'the i n d u s t r i a l colony' Map 1. The Location of Hong Kong. \ -7 k*+ • 0 150 300 450km I i Orthomorphic Projection Source:The Canadian Oxford School Atlas. 5th ed. (Hopkins 1971). It i s at once a model of success i n Asia and a testament to the vast sums of wealth that may accrue from the e x p l o i t a t i o n of cheap labour. I t i s 'home' to over 5 m i l l i o n s of people, but many of these are immigrants. It i s the model of l a i s s e z - f a i r e capitalism but 44 % of i t s people l i v e i n public housing (Fong 1986:3). Despite the 'success' of public housing i n Hong Kong, there are some 600,000 squatter structures (Hong Kong Housing Authority's Annual Report 1982, c i t e d i n C a s t e l l s 1986:52) I t i s a bastion of free enterprise, but there i s no e l e c t o r a l suffrage. Hong Kong, l i k e most c i t i e s , i s a place of contradictions and continuity. Today's Hong Kong i s known for i t s hectic pace and free-wheeling c a p i t a l i s t ethos. Yet under t h i s tumultuous surface of change and growth one senses a p e c u l i a r l y stable genre de v i v r e . The interplay of external and i n t e r n a l dynamics has imprinted on Hong Kong a continuously evolving genetic code for s u r v i v a l -- adaptability. In i t s various incarnations as f i s h i n g v i l l a g e through c o l o n i a l entrepot (See Faure et a l . 1984) to 'World City' (Hall 1984; Friedmann 1986), Hong Kong has proven uniquely adaptable to i t s various niches i n the world system. Hong Kong was founded i n 1841 by the B r i t i s h to e s t a b l i s h a free port to further the China trade, a role i t has f u l f i l l e d since. Through the accretions of the s p o i l s of war Hong Kong 47 grew from i t s o r i g i n a l location on the small i s l a n d of Hong Kong to eventually encompass the New T e r r i t o r i e s , an area which extends some 25 miles into the Chinese mainland (see Map 2). By 1911, the colony's population had mushroomed to 457,000, and had reached 1,640,000 by the time of the 'Japanese Interregnum' (during World War Two). After the severe depopulation during the Japanese occupation, the numbers of people c a l l i n g Hong Kong home quickly rebounded. Presently, the population i s i n excess of 5.5 m i l l i o n s . In the pre-war years Hong Kong was characterized by a dual economy. The t r a d i t i o n a l f i s h i n g and farming pursuits of the l o c a l ethnic groups (see Faure et a l . 1984), and the rampant mercantilism of l o c a l ex-patriots and some ethnic Chinese. The sources of the rapid changes which have resulted i n the Hong Kong of today are to be found i n the period immediately aft e r the Second World War. i In the early 1950's the s i t u a t i o n was bleak at best. The Korean War, the c l o s i n g of the c r i t i c a l entrepot trade to China, and the tremendous i n f l u x of refugees (both due to the communist v i c t o r y i n China i n 1949) painted a grim p o r t r a i t of future prospects. Yet among the immigrants were many i n d u s t r i a l i s t s from Shanghai (Chen 1984). These people and others aggressively looked outwards for markets for the inexpensive goods produced by the seemingly inexhaustible 48 supply of labour (Hall 1984). Hong Kong's outward looking development model meshed n i c e l y with a ' c r i s i s of fordism' i n the core (see L i p i e t z 1987), and the advances i n production and c i r c u l a t i o n technologies which made possible the New International D i v i s i o n of Labor. In a time of global competition to produce products cheaply, Hong Kong has proven uniquely e f f i c i e n t . The average annual growth rate of GDP/capita i n constant 1973 d o l l a r s from 1961 to 1982 grew at the very high rate of 6.9% (Chen 1984). (note t h i s figure i s severely skewed by the sharp downturn i n 1982) Yet i t i s not external factors alone which have led to Hong Kong's tremendous l e v e l s of growth i n the post-war period. Factors i n t e r n a l to the nature of Hong Kong also enhanced the growth process. Hong Kong i s known for the dynamism of i t s entrepreneurial s p i r i t , and suppleness and responsiveness of i t s economy. T r a d i t i o n a l l y Hong Kong enterprise has been dominated by f l e x i b l e small scale enterprises (Peattie 1985) which quickly respond to changes i n the economic scene. This dynamism i s perhaps as much a r e s u l t of the i n t e n s i t y of the Hong Kong scene as i t i s any peculiar ethnic t r a i t s (Freedman 1959). Hong Kong i s indeed a place of i n t e n s i t y , space and place are used to t h e i r optimum. The human 49 landscape i n Hong Kong i s diverse, small i n scale, mixed and varied i n function and s t y l e , i t seeks to unite d i v e r s i t y with s p e c i a l i z a t i o n i n one spot, i t minimizes t r a v e l l i n g and maximizes the v e r s a t i l i t y of the i n d i v i d u a l l o c a l i t y ; i t scorns no economic opportunity, whatever i t s shape, s i z e , content and implications ... (Leeming 1977:19) One r e s u l t of t h i s i n t e n s i t y of land use i s ultra-high l i v i n g densities, i n places exceeding 150,000 people per square kilometre. Despite the image of Hong Kong as a cosmopolitan c i t y , the vast majority of the populace are ethnic Chinese, Hong Kong Chinese continue to perceive themselves, i n the abstact, as Chinese, for there i s not yet any developed notion of a separate Hong Kong i d e n t i t y ... and i t would be f a i r to say that a person's b e l i e f that he i s Cantonese i s the most important p o l i t i c a l sentiment operating i n Hong Kong at present." (Lethbridge 1984:54) The people of Hong Kong are ruled by what has been c a l l e d a "departmentocracy" (King 1981:133). Though t h i s mode of government has a number of drawbacks i t has proven a s t a b i l i z i n g force i n the process of s o c i a l change. Despite the rap i d l y evolving nature of the c i t y of Hong Kong, u n t i l quite recently, the basic s o c i a l f a b r i c remained t i g h t l y woven. T r a d i t i o n a l Chinese values were s t i l l the bedrock around which the tempest swirled. (Anderson 1977c) This was p a r t i c u l a r l y true i n the 'country-side' of the new t e r r i t o r i e s (Potter 1968) and i n the numerous f i s h i n g v i l l a g e s which dot the outlying islands. Now, however, the Hong Kong s o c i a l formation i s undergoing a deep-seeded transformation, one where the t r a d i t i o n a l order of things i s being convulsed i n the maelstroms of c a p i t a l i s t penetration, urbanization and i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n . Hong Kong i s a Chinese c i t y but i t i s one 'sui generis'. Lethbridge captures the sense of place well i n writing, Hong Kong, from whatever perspective one views i t , i s an exraordinary society, a mixture of the antique and the modern; economically advanced, yet s o c i a l l y backward i n many areas. Chinatown-by-the-Sea, Babylon-sur-mer, Surbiton with servants: i t has something of each. But despite the sweeping changes that have occurred since the re-establishment of B r i t i s h c o l o n i a l rule i n 1945, i t remains an e s s e n t i a l l y Chinese community, though elaborately novel i n contrast with many Asian s o c i e t i e s . (Lethbridge 1984:67) B. SOCIETAL CHANGES SUPPORTING CHANGING CONSUMPTION PATTERNS. 1. The Parameters of the Mass Market i n Hong Kong. A primary prerequisite for the i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n and convergence of food consumption patterns i s the emergence of the mass market. Drawing from the B r i t i s h experience Hamish Frazer (1981) has outlined several features which he considers central to the emergence of the mass market. Table 2 below l i s t s these variables and presents relevant figures for Hong Kong. 51 Table 2. Indicators of a Potential Mass-market - Hong Kong Variable 1) A growing market 2) Increasing disposable income 3) Growing l i t e r a c y 4) Organization changes i n r e t a i l i n g 5) A s t r a t i f i e d society 6) Increasing number of urban workers 7) Creation of a family type separate from the production process Hong Kong Figures Population 1950 - 1.9 m i l l i o n ; 1985 - 5.43 m i l l i o n . Using 1964=100 Index of nominal wages i n manufacturing i n 1980=525 Index of food prices 1980=340 Adult l i t e r a c y 1960 - 70.4%; 1979 - 90% Number of supermarkets 1974 - 62 1985 - 695 Share of ordinal group of income lowest 20% - 5.6% of t o t a l income highest 5% - 24% of t o t a l income Level of Urbanization 90% Density (av.) 1960 - 29,000/km 1980 - 48,000/km Labour force i n Agriculture 1961 - 7.4% 1981 - 1.9% Sources: 1, 3, 6, 7 World Bank 1983; 2 - Chau 1983; 4 -Hong Kong Census of Wholesale, Retail...various years; 5 - Chow and Papanek, 1979. Though Table 2 i s a rather schematic portrayal of a s o c i a l formation, i t nonetheless i s i n d i c a t i v e of s h i f t s occurring v i a the i n d i r e c t route to consumption changes. The prerequisites, as outlined by Frazer, are apparent i n Hong Kong. However, present day Hong Kong i s not 19th century B r i t a i n . I t i s 52 undergoing d i f f e r e n t s o c i a l transformations and experiencing the emergence of the mass market at a d i f f e r e n t rate and i n a d i f f e r e n t geographical-historical conjuncture. Hong Kong also s i t s i n a much more f l u i d and pervasive world economy. Indeed, Hong Kong i s situated i n a global mass-market. 2. L i f e Cycle and Family Dynamics. There are some important variables which Frazer omits and that are important i n Hong Kong. One such variable i s female labour force p a r t i c i p a t i o n rates. These are p a r t i c u l a r l y relevant i n Hong Kong and to the process of changing consumption rates of processed foodstuffs. An increase i n the numbers of women working outside of the home was a variable which was mentioned i n the discussion of the ' i n d i r e c t route' to changing consumption practices. In Hong Kong the percentage rate of female p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n the formal labour force increased from 43.6 i n 1976 to 51.2 i n 1985 (Hong Kong 1986). This trend has numerous implications. F i r s t , i t lessens available labour time i n the home, making processed foods more a t t r a c t i v e . I t also increases the cash income of the family, making the purchase of these foods more possible. Data presented by Laurent (1984) suggests that these assertions are v a l i d i n the Hong Kong case; young families with two earners are the leading consumers of 'modern' consumer durables (an indicator of modernizing consumption patterns). 53 This point introduces a second important variable into the discussion -- l i f e cycle. The age grouping showing the highest l e v e l of consumption i n durables i s the age 20 to 25 grouping. These people devoted, on average, 6.7% of t h e i r expenditure p r o f i l e towards buying consumer durables. By way of comparison, the 45 to 54 age grouping spent 4.3%. Those i n the 20 to 25 grouping, at least before they have children, have i n general the most discretionary income of any age group i n Hong Kong (Laurent 1984:154) They are the group with the most women workers and they are the least set i n t h e i r consumption habits. Laurent also emphasizes the high educational attainment of t h i s group and the fact that they tend to see t h e i r peer group as a model, rather than t h e i r parents (Laurent 1984:144; see also Sala f f 1984). This tendency may serve as a break on the transmission of t r a d i t i o n a l consumption practices. Salaff f e e l s that the breaking of the hold of the family as the ar b i t e r of consumption norms i s a central reason for the increasing success of 'modern western goods' i n Hong Kong (Salaff 1984:66). The impact of t h i s group i s a l l the more important as the 20 to 25 age grouping i s the second largest, i n terms of population, i n Hong Kong (the 25 to 30 i s the l a r g e s t ) . 54 While Hong Kong has not r e a l l y witnessed a transformation to the nuclear family accompanying i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n as predicted by theorists such as Parsons, the tendency i n Hong Kong may be even more conducive to increasing and modernizing consumption patterns. The trend i n Hong Kong seems to be towards extended 'stem' fam i l i e s , that i s a family unit containing at least one other adult. Usually t h i s extra member i s an unmarried brother. (Laurant 1984:146) This serves to increase the earning p o t e n t i a l of the family unit, freeing up income for increased discretionary spending. Income levels are perhaps the primary factors i n changing consumption patterns. 3. Income Levels. The workers of Hong Kong have experienced a steady growth i n t h e i r r e a l wages i n the post war period. Real take-home wages have almost doubled since 1960 (Chen 1984:19; or see Chow and Papenek 1979:20). In terms of the purchasing power of food, wages increased at a rate twice that of food p r i c e s . This point i s c r i t i c a l l y important to the process whereby new foods are introduced into the l o c a l s e tting. In terms of income d i s t r i b u t i o n the figures for Hong Kong are quite contentious, with G i n i c o e f f i c i e n t s ranging from 0.41 to 0.74 (Chow and Papenek 1979). Despite the d i s p a r i t i e s of opinion, those data sets which have a temporal dimension tend to show sim i l a r trends. Notable gains have been made by the majority of the middle (especially upper-middle) income groupings at the expense of the very r i c h and the very poor (World Bank 1983; Chow and Papenek 1979; Hsia and Chau 1978). a. Factors Adjusting the Income Picture. i ) The Myth of Laissez-Faire Hong Kong. There are, however, some variables unique to Hong Kong which adjust the income d i s t r i b u t i o n picture somewhat and which have d i r e c t impact on food consumption regimes. Though Hong Kong i s often described as a l a i s s e z - f a i r e free market economy (eg. Chen 1984, Rabushka 1979 or Chow and Papenek 1979) t h i s i s not quite true. The Hong Kong economy i s not a t r u l y free market -- t h e i r are a number of factors which serve to subsidize the costs of the reproduction of labour power (and maintain consumption levels) (see e s p e c i a l l y S c h i f f e r 1984:10-11). Government subsidization of labour comes i n at least two forms. State expenditure on 's o c i a l investment' (see O'Connor 1973) such as housing; and state regulation of key areas of the food market, p a r t i c u l a r l y r i c e . Much of the land i n Hong Kong i s crown-land. This gives the government a good land base and revenue source for the construction of public housing (Castells 1986). Some 40% of the residents of Hong Kong l i v e i n public housing (Hong Kong  1986). Government investment and control i n the housing sector serves to subsidize o v e r a l l r e n t a l rates for lower income tenants (see also S c h i f f e r 1984; C a s t e l l s 1986; Fong 1986). Basic food costs are subsidized i n Hong Kong i n two ways: 1) through government intervention v i a marketing agencies; and 2) through lower than world market prices on imports from China (40% of t o t a l food consumption). Government intervention i s most prevalent i n the r i c e and vegetable sectors (the most t r a d i t i o n a l ) . Through the r i c e control scheme of 1955, for example, the government outlines the price of r i c e and s t r i c t l y regulates and supervises 38 registered r i c e stock holders. i i ) The Impact of Chinese Food Imports on Income Levels. Hong Kong i s dependent on foreign sources for 80% of i t s food supply, f i f t y per cent of t h i s comes from China. However, China has c l e a r l y not abused i t s market dominance (Castells 1986; Chau 1983) Chau has shown that: Prices of food imported from China would have been 29% more expensive i n 1979, had China adjusted i t s export price upward at the same rate as world export prices over the same period [1972-1979]. (Chau 1983:221) The impact of these lower prices i s not f e l t equally across a l l income cohorts. The impact i s most strongly f e l t 57 among Hong Kong's very poor. S c h i f f e r has argued that there i s an "inverse r e l a t i o n s h i p between income and dependency on PRC foodstuffs" (Schiffer 1984:4). The net r e s u l t of PRC food imports i s to increase the lower income group's share of income. (Table 3 below i l l u s t r a t e s t h i s p oint). Chau's "revised income share" data show an increase i n the income share of the very r i c h and a decrease i n the share of others, including the lowest income groupings. Thus, the impact of PRC foodstuff serves to increase the r e a l purchasing power of the poor. i i i ) In Sum. The picture which emerges i s of a s i t u a t i o n where the lowest income grouping has a declining share of income but that t h i s s h o r t f a l l i s i n part subsidized i n other ways. The huge growth of the middle class and the "subsidization" of the incomes of the very poor support increased-consumption l e v e l s . The stage i s thus set for the emergence of the mass market and the convergence of food consumption patterns. As Goody has written, the i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n of food, led to a considerable degree of homogenization of food consumption and was dependent upon the e f f e c t i v e increase i n demand from the working c l a s s , which now desired access to foodstuffs. (Goody 1987:170) b. The Importance of Income Levels. The increased (or subsidized) incomes of the very poor and the growing income share of the middle-classes are c r i t i c a l l y important to the process of 'modernizing food consumption patterns' (and thus i n the longer term -- convergence). As income l e v e l s increase, the percentage of expenditures devoted to food drops (as per Engel's law) due to the basic i n e l a s t i c i t y of demand for foodstuffs. This leaves more room for discretionary spending i n general. More importantly (and correctly) the i n e l a s t i c i t y of demand i s p a r t i c u l a r l y relevant i n terms of the consumption of staples. Because staples are highly i n e l a s t i c , increasing income allows for increasing discretionary spending within the food basket. I t i s la r g e l y (though not exclusively) i n the realm of discretionary spending that new foods f i n d an introduction into the l o c a l dietary regime. Due to various l o c a l (eg. state subsidized housing) and in t e r n a t i o n a l factors (eg. cheap imports from China) and the general health of the economy the people of Hong Kong have, i n general, experienced an increase i n discretionary spending. The importance of a generalized increase i n income leve l s i n r e l a t i o n to basic food prices i s a point which w i l l ' recur i n t h i s paper, (see e s p e c i a l l y the section on changing consumption practices) T n e Impact o f _ U . g b . e r Food C o s t s o n t h e S i z e D i s t r i D u C J - o a o f H o u s e h o l d Income, 19a1 ( l a n d h o u s e h o l d s ) i i 1 Household Nuinher Total Percentaye Percentaye Averaye Loss of Percentaye Revised Income of Income Snare Snare Consumption Income due to Income Income (HK dollars) householas (thousand HK. dollars) of Households Income Propensity Higher Food Prices (tnousana HK dol lars ) Loss Snare (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (o) (7) (8) Under bOO b_,yby 2b,784 5.41 0.b1 1.00 5 ,b74 21.2 0 .45 boo-999 5 0 , 7 b 3 3b,534 4.10 O.bb 1.00 7, 125 20.1 U .OU cr 11,000-1,499 112,083 101,41b 9.10 1.95 1.00 18,8 48 18.5 1.75 M (D i,_uu-i,yyy 123,231 154,084 y .yb 2 .9D 1.00 25,648 1b.b 2.73 2,000-2,499 156,481 352,082 12.b4 b.7b 0.87 49,827 14.2 b.42 2 , 5 0 0 - 2 , 9 9 9 1iy,y35 32y,821 9.69 b.33 0.87 46,677 14.2 b.01 • 3 , 0 0 0 - 3 , 9 9 9 iyy,242 by7,347 16.10 13.39 0.78 80,250 1 1 . 5 13. 10 ,4,uuu-4,yyy s 123,day 557,5U1 10.01 10.71 0.77 60,08b 10.8 10.bo 5 , 0 0 0 - 5 , 9 9 9 84,157 4b2,863 o.bO 8.89 0.7U 40,448 8.7 8.97 b,000-7,000 yu,yy2 b3b,944 7.35 12.23 0.61 48,504 7.b 12.49 8 , 0 0 0 - 9 , 9 9 9 42,4jy Jb1,951 3.43 7 . 3 J 0.61 2 4,b79 b ._ 7.58 •10,000 and over bb,872 1,471,184 5 .4U 28.25 0.61 88,2by b.o 2 9 . 3 5 •Al l land i households 1,237,b43 b,207,510 100.00 100.00 495,98b 100.00 coeff lc ient 0 .481 0 .50 Kuznets ra t io 68.84 71.90 Source: Chau 1983 60 4. Advertising, Marketing and Class Dynamics. a. Advertising. The changes described so far i n t h i s section have focused on passive, general factors which e f f e c t the a b i l i t y to consume, and what i s consumed. In t h i s section of the paper the focus i s on variables which are more intangible, subtle and active. Among these are the impacts of advertising and marketing. Advertising and i t s e f f e c t s on Third World consumers i s the subject of a good deal of l i t e r a t u r e (Anderson 1984; Ewen 1976; James and L i s t e r 1980). This section illuminates how advertising interacts with l o c a l variables to e f f e c t the convergence of food consumption patterns. Advertising and marketing i n t e r a c t with l o c a l food consumption patterns i n a number of ways. One of the ways t h i s occurs i s through i n t e r a c t i o n with l o c a l class dynamics. Local e l i t e s can often come to act as role models for the dissemination of consumption norms (Filguera 1981). In t h i s manner one mode of changing consumption i s through 'status emulation'. Transnational advertisers are aware of these propensities and b u i l d on them (Anderson 1984). Expenditures on advertising i n LDCs have skyrocketed i n recent years (World Advertising Expenditures 1979:25). Advertising expenditure per capita (1977) for Hong Kong i s among the highest of a l l LDC's (Kaynak 1982) at 23.71 US d o l l a r s / c a p i t a (this does not include d i r e c t advertising such as exhibitions promotions e t c ) . Advertising requires a delivery mechanism; i n 'modern so c i e t i e s ' t h i s i s la r g e l y done through the p r i n t and ele c t r o n i c media. The spread of receivers i s c r i t i c a l to what Douglas and Isherwood (1979) c a l l the 'spread of i n f e c t i o n model' of the dissemination of consumption practices. Table 4 i l l u s t r a t e s the huge increase i n the numbers of t e l e v i s i o n s and radios i n Hong Kong. In t h i s sense Hong Kong t r u l y i s a 'wired c i t y ' . Graph 1 indicates that Hong Kong's l e v e l of advertising i n t e n s i t y i s quite mature. I t seems to be at a t r a n s i t i o n point between LDCs and DCs. ( i . e . , between such LDC's as Mexico, Zambia and India and DCs such as the United Kingdom, Switzerland and the United States) Unfortunately data are not available on the changing i n t e n s i t y over time so i t i s d i f f i c u l t to e s t a b l i s h trends. However, i t i s important to note that present lev e l s of advertising i n t e n s i t y i n Hong Kong are much higher than they were i n presently more developed countries at sim i l a r stages of affluence and 'development' (James and L i s t e r 1980:64). Further, advertising i n Hong Kong has a d i s t i n c t l y i n t e r n a t i o n a l bias. By 1979 nine of the top 62 ten U.S. advertising agencies had o f f i c e s i n Hong Kong (U.N. 1979:44). Graph 1. Intensity of Advertising Effort in LDCs versus Developed Countries, 1977 Advertising Expenditures as a Percentage of National Income United States 0 1,000 2,000 3,000 4,000 5,000 6,000 National Income per Capita (U. S. dollars) Source: Kaynak 1982. 63 Table 4 Media Density, Hong Kong 1960 1965 1970 1975 1980 Radios/000 pop. 53.9 147 175 569 503 TV's /000 pop. 2.2 13.9 112.1 190.2 219.8 Source: Hong Kong 1983 b. P r o l e t a r i a n i z a t i o n and Consumption. It has been suggested that the process of p r o l e t a r i a n i z a t i o n i t s e l f may lead to changes i n consumption patterns (McGee 1985). P r o l e t a r i a n i z a t i o n i s a d i f f i c u l t term to define, however, i n quantitative terms Hong Kong does present the p r o f i l e of an i n d u s t r i a l i z e d , p r o l e t a r i a n society. In 1981, f u l l y 86% of the working population was c l a s s i f i e d as 'employees' (Lethbridge and Hong 1984:75) and only 1% were involved i n 'agriculture, f o r s t r y and mining'" (Castells 1986:131) The g i s t of the p r o l e t a r i a n i z a t i o n argument i s that as workers become increasingly subject to the a l i e n a t i o n of i n d u s t r i a l labouring the act of consumption may come to j u s t i f y work (see Filquera 1981). Workers come to t o i l for the good l i f e (Barnett and Muiler 1974:84). In t h i s view, as workers become subjugated to the demands of c a p i t a l and as the,"channels of p a r t i c i p a t i o n are narrowed, there only remains 64 work and consumption as the sole and p r i n c i p a l form of r e l a t i o n between the i n d i v i d u a l and society." (Filquera 1981:84). The tendency which Filquera summarizes may become magnified i n the context of rapid s o c i a l change. The Hong Kong t e x t i l e worker sipping Pepsi Cola i s perhaps expressing more than a preference i n sodas. As Mary Douglas and Baron Isherwood have argued, Man i s a s o c i a l being. We can never explain demand by looking only at the physical properties of goods. Man needs goods for communicating with others and for making sense of what i s going on around him. The two needs are but one, for communication can only be formed i n a structured system of meanings. His overriding objective as a consumer, put at i t s most general, i s a concern for information about the changing c u l t u r a l scene. That sounds innocent enough, but i t can not stop at a concern merely to get information; there has to be a concern to control i t . (Douglas and Isherwood 1979:95) One way to control t h i s information i n f l u x i s to buy some of i t . In t h i s way modernization comes to be seen as a mode of consumption (see Sin-Jee 1973). c. Class, Status Emulation and Consumption. Diet i s t r a d i t i o n a l l y a very class s p e c i f i c pattern. Goody has written that, "A s a l i e n t feature of the culinary cultures of Europe and Asia i s t h e i r association with h i e r a r c h i c a l man." (Goody 1982:99) This point i s p a r t i c u l a r l y important to the present discussion because the dissemination 65 of consumption patterns from national e l i t e s to the rest of the population i s a c r i t i c a l ingredient i n the process of convergence. (Kumar 1979; i n terms of food see Kapiinsky 1979:92-93; or Behar 1976:432) Tr a d i t i o n a l e l i t e s tend to view other i n t e r n a t i o n a l e l i t e s as t h e i r peer group or at least as models. In turn, they act as models of consumption for the rest of the l o c a l populace. The demonstration e f f e c t i s enhanced by the power of advertising (UN 1979:35). Advertisers play up the class connotations of s p e c i f i c goods.(Ewen 1976) In t h i s way the c i r c u l a t i o n of ideas and information interacts with l o c a l class dynamics to l i n k the consumption of 'global' goods to status. Because d i e t i s t r a d i t i o n a l l y a h i e r a r c h i c a l matter t h i s linkage i s p a r t i c u l a r l y relevant. Robinson (c i t e d i n McGee 1985) portrays t h i s s i t u a t i o n well i n writing, Status appears to be the name of the game i n the. r i s e of f a s t food popularity. In Malaysia, where a car sti c k e r bearing the name of an overseas un i v e r s i t y can open doors, and where o f f i c e workers plunk down a months wages to buy a be l t with a designer buckle, chomping American burgers and guzzling root bear helps to promote the wished for 'man about town image' (Robinson 1982:7) d. In Summation. Thus the increased l e v e l of the global c i r c u l a t i o n of information and ideas i n in t e r a c t i o n with l o c a l class dynamics 66 serves to f u e l the dissemination of global consumption norms. The increase i n information flows has "greatly f a c i l i t a t e d the a b i l i t y of int e r n a t i o n a l and national c a p i t a l i s t sectors to create and f i l l needs for the people of the Third World." (McGee 1985) C. LINKS TO THE GLOBAL COMMUNITY. The factors outlined above do not necessarily lead to Hong Kong's i n c l u s i o n i n the global mass-market. To do t h i s one needs to l i n k Hong Kong as a whole to i t s increasingly i n t e r n a t i o n a l milieu. This i s of course the ambit of t h i s paper. However, i n terms of background, Tables 5 and 6 give some i n d i c a t i o n of Hong Kong's increasing i n t e r n a t i o n a l i z a t i o n . Clearly, Hong Kong i s ra p i d l y becoming more and more enmeshed i n an int e r n a t i o n a l milieu. I t would, therefore, seem that Hong Kong i s ripe for the emergence of the mass-market. Its population c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s , media density and int e r n a t i o n a l linkages a l l seem conducive to the penetration of global marketing forces, and to the e f f e c t s of the global mass-market -- among them the convergence of consumption patterns. 67 Table 5 Hong Kong International Linkages - Communications Year 1976 1979 1982 1985 Letters sent abroad (million) 77.0 95.2 97.5 115.3 Total I n t ' i telexes (000 minutes) 2,540 8,742 20,495 31,521 Outward I n t ' l telephone t r a f f i c (000 minutes) 14,520 31,311 72,509 144,761 Tele v i s i o n Programmes; Number 424 764 963 1,250* reception** Minutes 9,404 4,623 22,364 42,312 ** Prio r to 1984 figures refer to t e l e v i s i o n programs v i a s a t e l l i t e , from 1984 onwards, figures refer to t e l e v i s i o n programs v i a media ( i e . both by s a t e l l i t e and microwave l i n k ) . * These figures for 1984. Source: Hong Kong Annual Digest of S t a t i s t i c s 1986 Edit i o n . Table 6 Value of Trade (constant 1973 prices) Av. Ann. Growth Rate % Year 1960 1970 1980 1960-70 1970-80 Imports 7,975 23,281 68,482 10.5 11.3 Exports 7,603 25,645 66,249 12.5 10.3 Source: World Bank 1983 68 D. CONSUMPTION TRENDS IN HONG KONG IN GENERAL. Having outlined the broad structural- parameters which can serve to f a c i l i t a t e the emergence of the mass-market i n Hong Kong l e t us now turn to examine the basic tenets of the convergence model i n general. F i r s t , Hong Kong does appear to be experiencing a modernization of consumption as defined Filguera, and Armstrong and McGee. Overall consumption rates have increased markedly. Both t o t a l private and governmental consumption leve l s increased at a rate of 8.6%/annum from 1960 to 1970 and at 10%/annum from 1970-1980. (World Bank 1983) Even when adjusted for population increase and i n f l a t i o n these figures are s t r i k i n g - they represent an emergent mass-market. The model of converging consumption patterns as outlined by Filguera (1981), McGee (1985), and Armstrong and McGee (1985) also emphasizes 'qualitative' changes such as an increase i n expenditure lev e l s on durable goods. This trend i s usually matched by a decline i n the percentage expenditure on food. Graph 2 demonstrates these trends i n Hong Kong (for a more econometric approach see Chen 1980:229). If one further refines the data to consider expenditure cohorts then some of the dynamics of the emergence of the mass-market become evident. Table 7, below, shows the percentage expenditure on durable goods for higher, middle, and lower expenditure groupings. 69 Graph 2. of the Household Expenditure Survey, 1979 Sources: Report 80... .,- The Household Expenditure Survey, 1963-64. 70 Table 7 Percent Expenditure on Durable Goods (and Change) Expenditure % Exp. % Exp. Nominal % Rate of Cohort 63/64 79/80 Change Change Low 0.6 1.3 +0.7 + 116.6% Mid 2.4 5.4 3.0 + 125% High 6.9 5.1 -1.8 - 26% Sources: derived from Hong Kong: Report of the Household Expenditure Survey ... (1981)  Hong Kong: The Household Expenditure Survey  (1965) The picture which emerges i s that the a b i l i t y and desire to purchase consumer goods seems to be trickling-down through society (see also Kumar 1979). Further, i t does appear, that at least s u p e r f i c i a l l y , Hong Kong society i s witnessing a q u a l i t a t i v e s h i f t i n consumption habits. E. IN SUMMATION. Though the figures are at times contentious, Hong Kong appears to conform to the model of the open economy (re: consumption and income) as outlined by Filquera (1981). The s i t u a t i o n i s , however, altered somewhat by various factors at various l e v e l s . A l l of these factors conspire to shape the l e v e l and type of change i n the patterns and norms of Hong Kong's dietary regime. 71 The basic parameters and requisites for the emergence of a g l o b a l l y a r t i c u l a t e d mass market are present. Changes within the l o c a l s o c i a l formation ( i . e . the i n d i r e c t route to. change) have made Hong Kong a prime locale for the development of the i n d u s t r i a l palate. Changes i n l o c a l expenditure and consumption patterns in t e r a c t with various larger trends through a number of conduits. At the l o c a l l e v e l these include, the import/export p r o f i l e , the l o c a l food production economy and the l o c a l food d i s t r i b u t i o n system. These areas provide a framework for the next part of the paper as well as being indicators of, and contexts for change. 72 CHAPTER IV. CHANGES IN THE HONG KONG FOOD SYSTEM. A. THE HONG KONG IMPORT/EXPORT PROFILE. 1. Imports. a. General Trends. One way i n which generalizing global forces e f f e c t and r e f l e c t changes i n l o c a l food consumption patterns i s i n the import/export p r o f i l e for foodstuffs. As Hong Kong i s r e l a t i v e l y free of trade r e s t r i c t i o n s one might imagine i t would conform to the rationale of the Hecksher-Ohlin-Samuelson theorem on international trade s p e c i a l i z a t i o n . As Hong Kong i s a highly urbanized i n d u s t r i a l colony i t might be expected to present a declining l e v e l of fo o d - s e l f - s u f f i c i e n c y . The response to such speculation i s rather ambiguous. The Hong Kong import/export p r o f i l e over the l a s t 30 years has been one of remarkable general s t a b i l i t y i n i t s broad parameters but also of some important s h i f t s i n i t s i n t r i c a c i e s and dynamics. In terms of food s e l f - s u f f i c i e n c y (or i n the inverse, dependency) the data are quite contradictory. Chau (1983) has asserted that Hong Kong's self-production has remained f a i r l y constant at around 20% of consumption since 1960 (though he 73 provides no u n i t s ) . There i s , however, a great deal of data which would suggest otherwise. As the following sections illuminate, the value and volume of imports i s r a p i d l y increasing, while the quantity of l o c a l production i s d e c l i n i n g . The conclusion i s that Hong Kong's l e v e l of s e l f - s u f f i c i e n c y i s s t a t i c i n terms of value. One possible reason for the maintenance of l o c a l s e l f - s u f f i c i e n c y (in terms of value) i s the Cantonese c u l t u r a l f i x a t i o n with 'Xin' (or freshness). This p r e d i l e c t i o n i s manifested i n a premium of 30% paid for (fresh) l o c a l produce (Chau 1983). Further, the value of l o c a l produce ( i e . the types of goods produced) i s r a p i d l y increasing as the l o c a l production sector (discussed i n the next section) increases the value-addition-and c a p i t a l i n t e n s i t y of i t s goods. Table 8 outlines the broad parameters of the Hong Kong import/export p r o f i l e . The key features to be noted here are the three-fold increase i n the value of imports and, even more su r p r i s i n g l y , a f i v e - f o l d increase i n re-exports. These figures support the proposition that Hong Kong's food system i s becoming increasingly enmeshed i n an i n t e r n a t i o n a l milieu and i s moving 'up-market'. One can designate two broad trends which are at the base of the contradictory s t a t i s t i c s : the value of imports i s 74 rapid l y climbing and the value of l o c a l production i s keeping pace. In other words the Hong Kong food system as a whole i s moving 'up-market'. (These increases far o u t s t r i p general i n f l a t i o n - o r i n f l a t i o n i n staples). Within t h i s balanced set t i n g there i s a great deal of change i n the import/export p r o f i l e . This change i s found i n the types, value and 'sourcing' of foodstuffs. Table 8. Import, Re-exports and Retained Imports -- Foodstuffs (HK$ M i l l i o n ) 1976 1979 1982 1985 % Change Imports* 6,925 9,968 16,785 20,752 + 300 Re-exports* 1,000 1,319 3,241 5,077 + 507 Retained Foodstuffs* 5,925 8,649 13,543 15,676 + 265 Exports** 626 741 1,071 1,189 + 190 Notes: 1. Retained imports are derived by subtracting the re-export s t a t i s t i c s from the corresponding import s t a t i s t i c s . Since no account i s taken of the trading margin and other charges involved i n the re-exports, the r e s u l t i n g values of retained imports are understated to that extent. 2. I n f l a t i o n for foodstuffs over t h i s period was 100%. * - includes a l l foodstuffs **- includes only food. Source: Hong Kong Annual Digest of S t a t i s t i c s 198b E d i t i o n . i ) Changes i n the Types of Foods Imported. The foodstuffs showing the greatest increase i n import leve l s (in both t o t a l value and t o t a l volume) tend to be 75 i n d u s t r i a l i z e d food types. In terms of percentage increase, (1980-1985) the big 'gainers' i n the import regime were: 1) Tea and Coffee 2) Live Poultry 3) Fish and Fish Preparations 4) Other Foodstuffs 5) Meat and Meat Preparations 6) Wheat Groupings showing a notable percentage decline were: 1) Sugar 2) Cattle 3) Rice 4) Vegetables 5) Swine (Derived from Hong Kong Review of Trade 1985) The contrast i n these two sets of foods i s r e a l l y quite s t r i k i n g . The l a t t e r grouping (except c a t t l e ) epitomizes t r a d i t i o n a l cuisine (eg. r i c e , vegetables and pork). The former grouping seems more representative of a rather more i n d u s t r i a l palate. These trends are dealt with more extensively i n the section on food consumption patterns per se. At t h i s point the concern i s with the evolution and nature of the Hong Kong food import regime as a larger dynamic. b. The 'Sourcing' of Suppliers. A key feature of t h i s dynamic i s the sourcing (geographical s p e c i a l i z a t i o n and s p e c i f i c a t i o n ) of food imports. By way of example, China i s far and away the major supplier of foodstuffs to the Hong Kong market. Approximately 76 Table 9. Hong Kong Foodstuff Imports Unit Value Index For 1981-1985 Selected Foodstuffs 1981 = 100 Foodstuff/Year 1983 1985 1985 QI* 1985 HK$ M i l l i o n * Fish and Fish Preparations 128 131 132 3,424 X F r u i t 132 155 94 2,900 Meat and Meat Preparations 122 117 132 2,535 * Vegetables 143 141 86 2,083 + Swine 115 120 103 1,598 Milk, Butter, Cheese Eggs 112 109 114 1,152 + Rice 95 83 107 895 Tea and Coffee 139 172 162 bbb Sugar 68 58 113 228 + Cattle 102 95 82 210 Live Poultry 125 132 131 484 Wheat and Flour 114 127 117 399 Others 118 125 134 3,132 Foodstuffs (Total) 120 123 115 20,752 * Quantum Index 1981 = 100 (volume) * indicates decline i n Chinese share of the market + indicates increase i n Chinese share of the ! market Source: Hong Kong Review of Overseas Trade i n 1985 Table 10. Imports From China as a Percentage of Total Imports, Selected Foodstuffs. Cereals/ Live Meat/ F r u i t s / Fish/ Dairy/ Cereals Animals Meat Vegs. Fish eggs Prep. Prep. Prep. Year 1959 17 63 53 49 62 41 1965 27 88 67 51 66 53 1970 __> 80 56 45 51 51 1975 41 91 59 42 50 50 1980 38 96 57 38 36 44 Source: Chau 1983:188 one-half of a l l food imports (40% of t o t a l consumption) comes from China at below world price s . Interestingly, China's role as a supplier of cheap staples seems to be becoming re-inforced. Table 10 i l l u s t r a t e s some trends i n food imports from China. If one compares Table 10 with Table 9 some illu m i n a t i n g features emerge. The areas i n which China i s showing the greatest loss of market share: F r u i t s , Vegetables and Fish products, are amongst those showing the greatest increase i n value on Table 9. Indeed, i n general terms one can almost posit an inverse r e l a t i o n s h i p between the 'growth' i n value of a consumption sector and the percentage of that sector coming from China (see Tables 9 and 10). China's share i n the 'growth' or high value-added food groups i s de c l i n i n g . China i s becoming primarily a source of less expensive, or transport-limited goods while Hong Kong looks further a f i e l d to s p e c i a l i z e d producers for an increasing share of i t s import needs. The nature of the Hong Kong import regime becomes more e x p l i c i t i f one examines some s p e c i f i c foods, as done i n Table 11. These food groupings exemplify the generalized trends found i n food imports i n general. Notable features include the geographical distancing of sources, the r e l a t i v e concentration i n the number of sources and the v a r i a t i o n of value by source. 78 Table 11 Selected. Imported Foodstuffs 1985 a) Chicken fresh, c h i l l e d , frozen Nation 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) b) U.S.A. China Denmark B r a z i l Netherlands kg (000) 14,502, 2,794, 2,221, 1,416, 1,397, $Hong Kong (000's) 133,952. 24,250. 19,951. 12,365. 12,863. Prepared cereal, breakfast foods Nation 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) A u s t r a l i a U.S.A. Belgium U.K. China kg (000) 244 156 57 55 45 $Hong Kong (000's) 4,830. 2,303. 1,158. 714. 291. Average Price/kg 9.2 8.6 8.9 8.7 9.2 Average Price/kg 19.7 14.7 20.5 12.9 6.6 Concent-ratio n #1 = 60 % 1-5 = 91.7% Concent-ratio n #1 = 40% 1-5 = 95% c) Vegetables preserved, canned/not canned Nation kg (000) $Hong Kong (000's) 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) China Taiwan U.S.A. U.K. Canada 13,431 3,259 2,687 1,594 774 52,766 12,998 18,699 8 ,508 4,711 Average Price/kg 3.9 4.0 7.0 Concent-ratio n #1 = 71% 1-5 = 94% Source: derived from Hong Kong Trade S t a t i s t i c s , 1985 79 Increasing lev e l s of c i r c u l a t i o n have had a good deal to do with the emergence of these trends. In the present day era of f a s t , e f f i c i e n t global transportation and high-technology food processing and preparation, distance to source i s becoming an increasingly less s i g n i f i c a n t factor i n trade. For example, i r r a d i a t i o n and super-cooling have greatly diminished the p e r i s h a b i l i t y of f r u i t s and vegetables. This has allowed distant countries to enter the l o c a l market. This s i t u a t i o n i s exemplified by the present trends i n the imports of f r u i t s and vegetables from China and the USA (see Table 12). One r e s u l t of the expansion of market horizons i s that producers and consumerscome to s p e c i a l i z e at a global scale i n products and sources respectively. Hong Kong i s no exception to t h i s trend. Hong Kong imports 80% of i t s wheat f l o u r from one source - Japan (though Japan grows very l i t t l e wheat); some 70% of Hong Kong's imports of evaporated/condensed milk comes from the Holland. Consistently the share of Hong Kong's imports of s p e c i f i c items accounted for by the top f i v e sources i s over 90%. (Source: Hong Trade S t a t i s t i c s 1985) c. Variations i n Value. Another feature of Hong Kong's import regime i s the v a r i a t i o n of value within food-grouping by source. Usually food imported from developed countries i s more highly valued. 80 Though these variations appear i n branded goods as well as t y p i c a l l y non-branded goods, the variations are more pronounced i n goods which may be subject to branding. By way of examples, frozen chicken (see Table 11) shows a mild price gradient between DC and LDC sources. Breakfast foods, however, show a huge divergence i n value/kg. T y p i c a l l y the divergence i s between cheap low value-added imports from China and more expensive, branded products imported from s p e c i f i c , often distant, usually 'core' sources. Table 12. Imports Levels, Vegetables and F r u i t , Selected Countries (HK$ M i l l i o n ) Country/Year 1983 1984 1985 % Change China 2,075 1,897 1,918 - 7.5% USA 1,217 1,259 1,372 +12.7% Source: Hong Kong Annual Digest of S t a t i s t i c s 1986 E d i t i o n Table 13. Imports by End-use by Main Supplier Foodstuffs (HK$ M i l l i o n ) Supplier/Year 1976 1979 1982 1985 %Change China 3,352 4,520 7,941 8,797 +162% USA 798 1,259 2,152 2,944 +271% Japan 359 611 1,125 1,488 +314% Thailand 477 668 844 1,008 +111% A u s t r a l i a 357 553 789 846 +137% TOTAL 6,925 9,968 16,785 20,752 +200% Source: Hong Kong Annual Digest of S t a t i s t i c s 1986 Ed i t i o n 81 d. Bases of Changing Imports. The increasing proportion (in terms of value) of processed, non-traditional foodstuffs from core countries i n Hong Kong's import p r o f i l e i s i n d i c a t i v e of two sets of processes. These might be termed 'direct' and ' i n d i r e c t ' . The d i r e c t set i s based on the marketing and market advantages of food T.N.C's and the s t r u c t u r a l constraints of the a r t i c u l a t i o n of the world and l o c a l food systems (eg. storage techniques). The i n d i r e c t set occurs v i a the changing l i f e - s t y l e s , needs and wants of the people of Hong Kong as the colony undergoes rapid i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n , urbanization and s o c i a l change. As mentioned above, and as i l l u s t r a t e d by Table 13, ' i n d u s t r i a l i z e d ' countries are supplying an increasing amount (in value terms) of Hong Kong's imports. The r e l a t i v e advantage of i n d u s t r i a l i z e d countries l i e s , not s u r p r i s i n g l y , i n i n d u s t r i a l i z e d foodstuffs (Goody 1982; Horst 1974). These foodstuffs tend to be highly processed and c a p i t a l intensive i n nature. Processed food items have often already moved through the product cycle (see UN 1981:148). Thus, they reach developing countries ( l i k e Hong Kong) as mature goods with a low margin and an integrated marketing plan. They are, therefore, often highly competitive. 82 The conduits which l i n k 'core' and developing countries are often food T.N.C's. Food transnationals are coming to control an increasing share of the global food trade (Clairmonte and Cavanagh 1982a, 1982b; George 1978; U.N. 1981). They aim to v e r t i c a l l y integrate t h e i r operations to control and shape a i l areas of the food system (from agri-business to marketing) (Howe 1983). Transnationals often seek to standardize products. This i s one way that the process of convergence occurs v i a the import regime. The success of standardized imports i s f a c i l i t a t e d by changes i n the 'in d i r e c t route' to change. This route i s shaped i n the l o c a l dynamics of s o c i a l change. Changes i n l i f e - s t y l e s or family cycles within the context of urbanization and i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n may necessitate s h i f t s i n dietary patterns. As the basic nature of these changes i s broadly s i m i l a r to what was experienced i n the i n d u s t r i a l i z e d countries, products from those countries may f i n d niches with r e l a t i v e ease. e. In Summation. Thus, i t appears that the Hong Kong import p r o f i l e r e f l e c t s the dynamic i n t e r a c t i o n of macro and micro l e v e l forces within the context of rapid s o c i a l change. The r e s u l t of t h i s i n t e r a c t i o n i s that the Hong Kong food system i s 83 increasingly characterized by a high l e v e l of value-addition and i n t e r n a t i o n a l s p e c i f i c a t i o n of 'sources* for a changing spectrum of food types. A. Re-Exports. Hong Kong i s becoming increasingly linked to an emergent network of the global food system, and i s developing i t s role as regional sub-centre. This trend i s manifest i n the increasing importance of the re-export and export of (lar g e l y ' i n d u s t r i a l ' ) food products. The value of re-exported foodstuffs increased from 1 b i l l i o n HK$ i n 1976 to 5 b i l l i o n HK$ i n 1985. Though t h i s growth rate (at least i n the 1980's) i s not p a r t i c u l a r l y s t r i k i n g when seen i n the context of Hong Kong's entire re-export sector (see Graph 3), i t i l l u s t r a t e s an increasing integration and i n t e r a c t i o n with an i n d u s t r i a l world food system. The re-export sector i s more impressive i f one considers the value of the goods handled. In terms of unit value (Graph 4) one should note that the food sector i s a leading growth area. Yet again one sees the escalation i n the value (-addition) of foodstuffs which are entering and/or being transhipped v i a the Hong Kong food system. The increase i n the 84 X •o Cr o o o in T ro Graphs 3 and 4, o o C M o CV o CO => o CO t o D •o —-X e OJ Lul I  -o —-c >>CO J2 en OJ to 3 -J — >> ro o s-~- c o X cn •U UJ OJ —• 1 c <u ra ZD c_> C3 co «3-co X •o -c o CM CO -i co o o in >a-— o O © •— o co co o ro O CO co ^J* ro CM •— O o o CTl co CD ^* ro CM o o o o o T3 -C OJ ro s_ CO 3 "O CO 4-> CO o - on 0 n <g o CD * i — (*- O to - 3_<1-L 11 C M-01 4J 10 i — 3 E <o E * *-> 3 21 i 4-> in to to -r- T- -o — c 3 E Q. O 01 O rd OJ ro O 3 C_> CC to C_> U_ U. >> u o -O <_) to OJ •*-> (/> S- © O I c - o X — CC CD CL «3-CO co cn — o o o •<- O 00 CO CO _ o X o ro o CM O co co *r ro CM • co co >3- ro o © o o Source: Hong Kong Review of Overseas Trade 1985. 85 value of foodstuffs i s not merely i n d i c a t i v e of a basic i n f l a t i o n a r y tendency i n a l l foods. Indeed, over t h i s same period the value of imports from China was up only 10% (Hong  Kong Review of Overseas Trade 1985). It i s , however, important not to impute too much emphasis with regard to Hong Kong's re-export sector at present. Hong Kong's role as re-exporter i s not, perhaps, as advanced as one might imagine. Re-exports mainly involve transhipment of food to or from China. (e s p e c i a l l y sea-products -- which are often canned i n Hong Kong or vegetables which are trans-shipped to Singapore). Hong Kong's role as a regional centre i n the world food system i s s t i l l i n a nascent stage. 3. Food Exports. Hong Kong's role as an exporter of foodstuffs i s markedly more i n d u s t r i a l i z e d . Local Hong Kong interests are moving to take on a regional role i n the export of s p e c i f i c processed foodstuffs. An example of t h i s process i s Hong Kong's increasing control of China's imported beverage market as seen i n Table 14. Table 14 imparts some sense of the r a p i d i t y with which changes i n the world food (and beverages) market/system can take place. Two i n t e r e s t i n g features stand out i n t h i s table. The f i r s t i s the scale and speedy development of Hong Kong's dominance of China * s beverage imports. 86 Another feature of note i s the rapid decline i n the share of the USA i n the Chinese market. One wonders i f t h i s decline i s not l i k e l y to be the r e s u l t of a s h i f t of US c a p i t a l 'offshore' to set up branch plants i n Hong Kong. Table 14 Comparative Share of Hong Kong's P r i n c i p a l Export Commodities i n Main Markets -- Beverages i n China Country % Share of Total Imports into Market 1983 1984 1985 (Jan-Sept) Hong Kong 38.7 60.0 73.0 France 15.7 13.0 14.2 USA 17.3 13.2 4.0 Source: Hong Kong Review of Overseas Trade i n 1985 4. In Summation. From t h i s b r i e f look at Hong Kong's food import/export p r o f i l e i t seems clear that Hong Kong i s becoming increasingly enmeshed i n a global food system. Further, the value (-addition) of the goods entering and leaving the l o c a l food system has increased markedly. The increasing le v e l s of c a p i t a l i n t e n s i t y , value-addition, and i n t e r n a t i o n a l i z a t i o n e f f e c t and r e f l e c t the increasing impact of the world food system -- and thus, are the catalysts and c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of convergence. 87 B. The I n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n of a Local Food Production  Economy -- The Hong Kong Case It seems useful to use the Hong Kong case to outline the micro-level dynamics of the process of c a p i t a l i n t e n s i f i c a t i o n i n the production sphere of a l o c a l food system. In t h i s way one can also i l l u s t r a t e how complex and multi-layered the process of i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n of foodstuffs i s . I t i s not simply a matter of external d i c t a t e s , but also of a complex melange of l o c a l variables. However, underlying t h i s complexity i s the increasing pervasiveness of c a p i t a l i s t regulation, the relevance of which increases with the growth i n c a p i t a l i n t e n s i t y . In Hong Kong, the conjunction of i n t e r n a t i o n a l and l o c a l forces has led, i n general, to an i n t e n s i f i c a t i o n of food production. This i n t e n s i f i c a t i o n i s characterized by s h i f t i n g product types and increasing c a p i t a l and technological inputs into e x i s t i n g crops. The i n t e n s i f i c a t i o n process permeates the food system as a whole -- from the paddy bund to the food processing plant. I t i s i n d i c a t i v e of the s h i f t of 'agriculture' to 'agri-business' and of food from staple to i n d u s t r i a l commodity. 88 1. In The F i e l d s a. General Trends 1 1 1. In the f i e l d s the s i t u a t i o n i s not quite as stark or l i n e a r as characterized above. In Hong Kong, the i n t e r s e c t i o n of various forces e f f e c t i n g the l o c a l space-economy has led to the paradoxical results of increasing land-use i n t e n s i f i c a t i o n and increasing land abandonment ( S i t 1981; Yeung 1985b:20). A g r i c u l t u r a l lands around the urban core are undergoing pressures s i m i l a r to those found i n other peri-urban areas i n conditions of rapid urban growth and i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n . In Hong Kong these include, (1-3 after S i t 1981) 1) pressure on f l a t land from industry (eg. to lease land to small factories) 2) r i s i n g labour costs 3) speculation i n regards to 'new towns' development 4) the impact of reservoir construction (Hays 1983) 5) contractual d i f f i c u l t i e s with t r a d i t i o n a l tenants (Strauch 1984:205) ( i . e . , monetization of agrarian s o c i a l relations) Perhaps i r o n i c a l l y (in ' l a i s s e z - f a i r e ' Hong Kong) the c a t a l y s t which converts these pressures into land abandonment i s often considered to be the government (Yeung 1985b:20). A government land-freeze has l e f t a good deal of land i n limbo, between a g r i c u l t u r a l and i n d u s t r i a l usage -- abandoned. The abandonment of land i s an important trend i n i t s e l f H . 89 However, for t h i s paper's purpose i t serves to highlight the object of main concern, the i n t e n s i f i e d use of the remaining land base. Agriculture i n Hong Kong i s highly productive (Wong 1985; Wade 1981; Yeung 1985b; S i t 1981) and i t i s becoming more so. The process of a g r i c u l t u r a l i n t e n s i f i c a t i o n i n Hong Kong i s occurring i n two ways. These are: 1) s h i f t s i n the types of products grown; and 2) changes i n production techniques (eg. l e v e l of inputs). C l e a r l y these two sets of changes are interwoven. Both are manifestations of the c a p i t a l i z a t i o n and eventual i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n of agriculture. These trends l i e at the base of agri-business (Davis and Goldberg 1957) and thus provide a major impetus for the convergence of available food types. In Hong Kong they appear as a generalized i n t e n s i f i c a t i o n process. Anderson captures the process of i n t e n s i f i c a t i o n through product s h i f t s well by writing: From then [1966] on to 1974-75 the trend to s p e c i a l i z a t i o n continued with r i c e becoming almost ex t i n c t . The vegetables too began to give way: more and more f i e l d s went into even more sp e c i a l i z e d , high-capital, high value-added agriculture -- notably flower farms ... the future of farming i n the NT [New T e r r i t o r i e s ] i s evidently to produce frank luxuries and to become more and more sp e c i a l i z e d . (Anderson 1977b:2) The collapse of the rice-production sector most strongly i l l u s t r a t e s the tendency to increasingly intensive and high 90 value a g r i c u l t u r a l production i n Hong Kong. Hong Kong r i c e production was once famed for i t s technique and q u a l i t y . However, as S c h i f f e r ' s data have shown, by 1980 l o c a l production accounted for only .02% of the l e v e l of imports (Schiffer 1984:23). While 1600 metric tons of r i c e were produced i n 1970 only 70 tonnes were produced i n 1980 (Hays 1984:61-62). Clearly one can not overstate the s h i f t s i n the a g r i c u l t u r a l space economy. A g r i c u l t u r a l land-usage devoted to r i c e f e l l from 70.3% to 0.4% i n just under two generations (see Graph 5). The f l i p - s i d e of the precipitous decline i n r i c e production i s the s h i f t to more 'intensive' crops. Intensive i n t h i s sense refers to the l e v e l of c a p i t a l and technological inputs, the type of crops and, at base, the return on c a p i t a l ( i e . productivity) to investment i n agriculture. This process has undergone a number of stages. At various periods d i f f e r e n t crop regimes have become dominant as the a g r i c u l t u r a l sector responds to a wide gamut of forces. Graph 5 indicates the f i r s t wave of change i n the Hong Kong a g r i c u l t u r a l space economy. This phase was characterized by increasing land-use for more intensive crops l i k e vegetables, f r u i t s and f i s h production. Table 15 i l l u s t r a t e s some of the parameters of the second wave of i n t e n s i f i c a t i o n . Of note here i s the r e l a t i v e l y poor performance of vegetables 91 production since 1975 and the growth of even more intensive sectors. The second wave of change i s characterized by high protein, high i n t e n s i t y products such as chickens, pigs and f i s h products. These products exemplify the processes of i n t e n s i f i c a t i o n and i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n . Salt water f i s h ponds are the culmination of the process of i n t e n s i f i c a t i o n of 'brakish paddy' land into high-intensity aqua-culture. Livestock, p a r t i c u l a r l y the two biggest growth areas of chicken and pork i s t r a d i t i o n a l l y among the more i n d u s t r i a l i z e d food sectors Graph 5. C h a n g e s i n A g r i c u l t u r a l Land Use 1954-1979 l O O - i IA = 90 -•o Z 80 -1954 1969 1979 Y e a r Source: Wong 1983. 92 Table 15. Per Capita Local Production of Selected Foodstuffs (Units) Foodstuff 1975 1977 1979 1981 1983 1985 o, o (KG 1s) Vegetables 41.0 43.0 39.0 34.0 29.0 28.0 -31% Rice 0.8 0.3 0.02 0.01 NA NA -100% F i e l d Crops 1.8 0.8 0.6 0.5 0.3 0.3 -83% Milk 1.1 1.0 0.8 0.9 0.8 0.5 -54% F r u i t 0.5 0.7 0.2 0.9 0.9 0.2 * Fish, Crust 33.0 37.0 33.0 34.0 34.0 +3% (Head) Pigs 0.8 0.09 0.11 0.08 0.07 0.11 +38% Cattle 0.0003 0.0004 0.0004 0.0002 0.0002 .0001 -66% Chicken 2.3 3.3 3.3 3.3 2.9 2.6 +13% * too much production i n s t a b i l i t y Source: Derived from Data i n the Hong Kong Annual Digest  of S t a t i s t i c s 1986, 1985 (Horst 1974). In Hong Kong these a c t i v i t i e s have indeed become more commercial and sp e c i a l i z e d ( S i t 1981:137-138). Perhaps the ultimate step towards i n d u s t r i a l i z e d a griculture i s i n the production of non-edible consumer products. In 1976-77 the value of flower production was 35.5 m i l l i o n d o l l a r s (H.K.). This was second only to vegetables and was four times the value of f r u i t production and six times the value of r i c e production (by 1982 the value of flower production had climbed to 73 m i l l i o n H.K.$ - Hong Kong 1985). 93 F i n a l l y , i t i s important to underline the f a c t that not only are the types of products grown changing but so to are the techniques of growing. Hong Kong has experienced a s h i f t of technique from hand-labour (Faure 1984), through primary mechanization (eg. power-tillers e t c . ) , to 'bio-technologies'. For example, hydroponics-'-2 i s becoming increasingly popular i n Hong Kong (Yeung 1985b:33). Hydroponics, a type of farming which i s independent of s o i l conditions, i s perhaps the culmination of the i n t e n s i f i c a t i o n (and r a t i o n a l i z a t i o n ) process. This method r e l i e s on, s c i e n t i f i c a l l y c ontrolled mixtures of plant nutrients and water to be supplied to vegetables and f r u i t s as these are required. On the same amount of land, multiple t i e r s of vegetables and f r u i t s can be grown, thus increasing production levels several times. (Yeung 1985b:33) b. Sources of Change. The reasons for t h i s process of s p e c i a l i z a t i o n and i n t e n s i f i c a t i o n are various. They include: 1) increasing l o c a l land values; 2) monetization of the agrarian sector; 3) increasing wage level s i n Hong Kong; 3) government po l i c y ; 4) increased l o c a l demand for more expensive foods; and 5) the impact of new c u l t i v a t o r s recently emigrated from China. None of the variables has preeminence, they act i n toto, increasingly within the context of a broader world food system (eg. v i a import competition or technology t r a n s f e r ) . 94 The impact of Chinese immigrant a g r i c u l t u r i s t s from Guandong i l l u s t r a t e s the depth of i n t e r a c t i o n within t h i s complex of forces and gives one some idea of how the i n t e n s i f i c a t i o n process occurs i n s i t u through the example of one fragment of the larger dynamic. Most writers agree that the impact of an 'invasion' of vegetable and pond farmers ( S i t 1981:241) from China i s one factor i n the changing structure of the Hong Kong food production sector. Yet ( l i k e transnationals) these people were not independent agents f r e e l y a l t e r i n g the course of Hong Kong food production. They are agents reacting to, and defining the s h i f t i n g nature of the l o c a l food system i n the context of the changing s o c i a l formation. They f i r s t had a need for c a p i t a l , saw a p o t e n t i a l market and moved to f i l l i t . One reason for the need for c a p i t a l was that the new immigrant tenants rented land on a monetary basis (a departure from the past). To the renters, t h e i r expertise and c a p i t a l needs required a s h i f t to more intensive vegetable and f i s h production. Vegetable farming increased cash flow nine times ( S i t 1981:127) while decreasing the amount of land needed for production. The drive behind t h i s new production l o g i c was the awareness of a decline i n the value of r i c e due to competition from cheaper sources and an increasing market for more expensive foodstuffs. Strauch, for example, (1984:192) has 95 written that these immigrants were "seeking f i e l d s suitable for markets." Competition from lower priced r i c e imports, and the increased value of land, i n conjunction with market s h i f t s and l o c a l knowledge, thus led to a change i n production p r i o r i t i e s and a change i n the l o c a l food system. The Hong Kong government was an active supporter of these changes through the auspices of the "Vegetable and Marketing Organization" and the targeting of a g r i c u l t u r a l loan funds. S i t has asserted that t h i s organization was, founded to promote the transformation of the a g r i c u l t u r a l economy from one heavily based i n r i c e production to one of vegetable and f i s h pond culture. (S i t 1981:75) P l a i n l y put, i t would seem that there was no money to be made i n r i c e anymore. In Hong Kong one sees i n microcosm the replaying of trends which continue around the world: the a g r i c u l t u r a l sector becomes increasingly c a p i t a l i z e d . Faced with a global market of (often subsidized) competition, highly advanced a g r i c u l t u r a l techniques and transport modes, and high l o c a l land prices, l o c a l r i c e producers l o s t much of th e i r advantage of loca l e . As the r e l a t i v e price of r i c e -- 'the staple ' -- declined, producers turned to more highly valued, c a p i t a l intense products. 96 The r e s u l t of the processes of c a p i t a l and technological i n t e n s i f i c a t i o n are that agriculture becomes less p l a c e - s p e c i f i c (Harwood 1977), dependent on other resources ( i . e . f e r t i l i z e r s ) , and requires a higher c a p i t a l return ( i . e . return on value-added). Agriculture thus becomes increasingly immersed i n the l o g i c of the global market. This 'logic' leads to geographical r a t i o n a l i z a t i o n . c. In Summation. Ration a l i z a t i o n leads to the geographical s p e c i f i c a t i o n and s p e c i a l i z a t i o n of production niches. These niches are, however, part of a larger global production matrix, rather than a purely l o c a l eco-cultural one. As the breadth and depth of the global market increases i t comes to r a t i o n a l i z e a l l facets of food production, and thus, ultimately impinges on food consumption. I t i s within t h i s broader context that i n d i v i d u a l agents act and l o c a l variations are played-out. These l o c a l variables can reinforce or redefine the overlying s t r u c t u r a l parameters (e.g. the new immigrants need for, and move to more intensive vegetable crops). Thus, through changes i n the agriculture sector seem to be rather l i n e a r ( i . e . i n t e n s i f i c a t i o n ) the processes which combine to shape the resultant dynamic are complex and i n t e r a c t i v e . In some sense i t i s the depth of t h i s process 97 which provides the o v e r a l l continuity of change, and i t s seemingly ineluctable nature. In the f i e l d s then, the combination of micro and macro forces has led to an increasing i n t e n s i f i c a t i o n , perhaps ultimately i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n of food production. 2. The Hong Kong Food Industry. The c a p i t a l i n t e n s i f i c a t i o n process does not s t a r t or stop at the farm gate (or the paddy bund). Food processing i s one of Hong Kong's fast e s t growing 'industries'. Per capita value-addition i n food processing i n Hong Kong i s amongst the highest of a l l middle income LDC's. (UN 1981:142) The data given i n Table 16 show some of the trends and t r a i t s of the food processing sector. Though the number of establishments (and employees) dropped, gross output increased 380% from 1976 to 1982. Further, gross fi x e d c a p i t a l formation, or 'plant' increased 300% and value addition was up 330%. These growth rates o u t s t r i p the rate of i n f l a t i o n over t h i s period ( i . e . 60%-World Bank 1983). The Hong Kong food processing industry presents a p r o f i l e which w i l l become a common theme i n the remainder of t h i s paper. I t i s characterized by two kinds of establishments which have d i s t i n c t c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s . As Table 17 shows, the 98 sector as a whole i s dominated by large establishments ( i n terms of t o t a l output, t o t a l value-added and t o t a l s a l e s ) . These large establishments are the most productive. The biggest producers extract 10 times more value addition per employee than the smallest grouping. However, the smaller establishments create more value addition per unit sales than the larger ones. The variance i n value addition per unit of sales i s a r e f l e c t i o n of a number of factors. The f i r s t of these factors i s that i t i s i n the nature of large production complexes to seek a small margin on each sale (this i s t h e i r competitive edge). Yet perhaps one can carry t h i s a step further. The larger establishments seek a mass-market. They trade market ' f i t ' for volume of sales and standardization. They attempt to bring the market to themselves, through p r i c e , advertising and other marketing techniques. Smaller establishments, on the other hand, need a smaller market. Thus they tend to 'go to' or to serve a p a r t i c u l a r market niche. I t i s i n t h i s awareness of, and accommodation to segments of the market that smaller establishments eke out t h e i r p r o f i t . Therefore, the tendency i n markets dominated by large establishments i s towards standardization, and the inverse i s l i k e l y to be true where smaller establishments predominate. 99 Table 16. Hong Kong, Food Processing Industry Year 1971 1976 1979 1981 1983 1984* Number of Establishments 689 1,190 1,153 1,127 971 928 Average Number of Persons Engaged NA 15.2 16.6 17.3 16.7 23.3 Gross Output (m i l l i o n HK$) NA 1,244 2,389 NA 4,722 5,498 Value Added (m i l l i o n HK$) NA 381 710 NA 1,251 1,317 Gross Fixed Capital Formation NA 45 97 NA 135 158 Sources: U.N. Yearbook of I n d u s t r i a l S t a t i s t i c s  Vol. 1 General I n d u s t r i a l S t a t i s t i c s various editions * Source: Hong Kong Survey of I n d u s t r i a l Production 1984 note: where these sources overlap they demonstrate compatability. The trend i n the Hong Kong food processing sector seems to be to larger, more productive establishments (see Tables 16 and 17). In terms of the preceding argument, i t i s also apparent that the r a t i o of gross-output to value-addition i s declining. This implies a move towards mass-market production and away from the Hong Kong norm of small establishments (Peattie 1985). One possible r e s u l t of t h i s process i s l i k e l y to be a standardization,of product. Further, t h i s standardization i s l i k e l y to have an i n t e r n a t i o n a l bias for three reasons. These include: 1) the type of c a p i t a l goods brought i n ( i e . technology t r a n s f e r ) ; 2) the need to expand markets (to go 100 international -- eg. beverages to China); and 3) leve l s of foreign investment. increasing Table 17. 3 >1 3 U 3 J J -01 U> 3 TJ X •3> J J C 3 U J J 3 3 O O u 01 lu to o u •3 Q 31 a o i> O - c o o o CM 3 01 Ol .— 31 «> . • . o ro J I VP 3 ro CN .— A 1 3 3 CM 3 3 • . . • © 3 CN T— r— 1 3 31 *— IT) 31 | 3 3 rn 3 31 CN O 3 35 . • . • a •o 3 3 no •S) ro CO r— *— J J 3 31 CN T 1 3 J I 31 3 3 ro ro 3 31 . o 31 CN in vO J3 J J 3 ^ 1 ro 3 31 3 rv] *~ 3 31 rn • . J I 3 Jl ro ro ro 31 1 J I 3 31 ro . '.0 »— 3 3 31 r- • 31 T— 31 3 r^ <tf 1 3 31 31 3 3 31 • • . D 3 31 J I -0 •M ro ng 1 £> Ol ro X 3 31 r» . r» 3 31 T— 31 CN J I ro J-> 31 1 CN CM r— ro 3 3 31 T— • • • . •O 3 31 tN *— ro r— *™ CN 3 3 1 i — i n ro •— - n 1 • . . • V m to i J J -o 1 1 V) • Q -1 3 -I • -1 CD -I J J H 0 J J U (0 (8 0, (0 01 rd CO V -1 •o u 3 J J J J J J J J J J J J J J -o J J 1) V M c M 0) fj a. 01 c 0 3 0 C 0 < 0 CD < d) D < 0) J J a CD ^ O H S H E-< >1 a, a. >i 3 E a 1) 0 01 0 0 o *j <JJ 0) •u D uj 3 M-l -1 3 c <D 3 c H 0 01 0 0) 0 J J 0 H 0 a< -1 0 -1 -1 0 Q i 1> 0 01 B (0 •H <d 10 -1 £ 3 #> u # M > J J > J J • H ' J t) . . • • > rO J I a o H J J O 3 TJ 0 M Oj IS H U J J 01 3 •o 1) > u 3 CO X 31 c 0 V V > • H M 0) T3 0) o 3 0 101 The i n t e r n a t i o n a l i z i n g nature of the food processing industry i s apparent i n trends i n foreign d i r e c t investment (FDI) (after Hung 1984). FDI i n the food and beverage "manufacturing industry" increased from 5.4 m i l l i o n to 386.7 m i l l i o n Hong Kong d o l l a r s from 1971 to 1981. This increased the food and beverage sector's share of t o t a l FDI from 0.79% to 5.7%. In percentage terms the increase i n FDI i n the Hong Kong food and beverage sector was 7,061%. This rate of growth even outstripped the elect r o n i c s sector. 3. In Summation. Clearly the l o c a l food production economy i s becoming increasingly enmeshed and constrained i n a larger production matrix. The nature and lo g i c of t h i s production/consumption matrix leads to standardization. This examination of the Hong Kong case has demonstrated how the process of c a p i t a l i n t e n s i f i c a t i o n occurs i n s i t u . I t i s the r e s u l t of a wide range of factors, but i s underlain by permeation of the global c a p i t a l i s t mode of regulation into the l o c a l milieu. The importance of t h i s impingement i s not s o l e l y confined to the production sector, as the following sections outline i t also greatly impacts the realms of c i r c u l a t i o n and consumption, i n t e n s i f i c a t i o n occurs i n s i t u . I t i s the r e s u l t of a wide range of factors, but i s underlain by permeation of the global c a p i t a l i s t mode of regulation into the l o c a l milieu. The 102 importance of t h i s impingement i s not s o l e l y confined to the production sector, as the following sections outline i t also greatly impacts the realms of c i r c u l a t i o n and consumption. C. CHANGES IN THE HONG KONG FOOD DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM. In many ways the nature of the changes i n the Hong Kong food d i s t r i b u t i o n system provide a suitable analogy for an underlying prospectus of t h i s thesis. The d i s t r i b u t i o n system acts as linkage between, and a context for the i n t e r a c t i o n of micro-level choices and constraints and more macro-level variables. In Hong Kong t h i s i s perhaps p a r t i c u l a r l y e x p l i c i t due to the f l u i d i t y and adapt a b i l i t y of the commercial sector. Changes i n d i s t r i b u t i o n networks are c r i t i c a l to the texture of the industrialization/convergence process because part of the nature of the expansion of the c i r c u l a t o r y sphere i s that "a whole series of agents now intervened between the producer and consumer." (Goody 1982:166) These interveners are important for they are the conduits through which foodstuffs f i n d t h e i r way to the consumer (see Bucklin 1976:59-60). They are often very sensitive to the dynamics of the interplay of the r e q u i s i t e s of the i n d u s t r i a l palate and l o c a l communities. They are agents within the l o c a l milieu who by t h e i r actions define and redefine the discourse between the world i n d u s t r i a l food system and the agency of l o c a l consumption. 103 The Hong Kong food d i s t r i b u t i o n system i s i n fac t a very complex multitude of overlapping networks of d i s t r i b u t i o n . However, one can i d e n t i f y two basic kinds of 'sectors' which are i n some sense i d e n t i f i a b l e by the products they purvey. (Though these groupings are not c l e a r l y demarcated nor mutually exclusive.) The f i r s t i s the more t r a d i t i o n a l Chinese produce, livestock and r i c e marketing system. This sector tends to be government-regulated and deals mostly i n foodstuffs from the New T e r r i t o r i e s or China. I t i s characterized by a d i f f u s i o n of product from large 'markets' to numerous very small scale s e l l e r s (often Hawkers) (Hong Kong, Establishments i n  Wholesale, R e t a i l and Import/Export Trades, Restaurants and  Hotels. 1979.) A second 'sector' i s that which handles mostly processed, preserved and/or foreign foodstuffs. This grouping i s more t i g h t l y a r t i c u l a t e d with the global food system. The degree of concentration of ownership i s higher i n t h i s sector than i n the more t r a d i t i o n a l sector. The'outlets' of t h i s sector tend to be (though not exclusively) grocers or supermarkets (and increasingly, of l a t e , convenience stores such as 'Seven-Elevens'). 1. General Trends. Because s h i f t s i n the ecology and economy of food s e l l i n g 104 are most apparent at the r e t a i l l e v e l t h i s analysis w i l l focus on r e t a i l outlets. 1-^ A number of surp r i s i n g and at times apparently contradictory trends seem to be emerging i n the Hong Kong food r e t a i l i n g sector. One sees a trend towards bigger establishments, exemplified by supermarkets, a p r o l i f e r a t i o n of smaller establishments - i n fresh f r u i t and vegetable (FFV) s e l l e r s ; and more recently a move to a t h i r d type of establishment the convenience store, an amalgam of some of the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of the two dominant types. Graph 6 i l l u s t r a t e s the changes i n numbers of establishments by 4 broad groupings from 1974-1984. This graph quite v i v i d l y shows the two major growth areas i n terms of numbers of establishments -- the fresh f r u i t and vegetable (FFV) and supermarket sectors. The decline i n the t r a d i t i o n a l 'grocery' sector i s also of in t e r e s t but w i l l be addressed here lar g e l y i n terms of changes i n the FFV and supermarket sectors. Perhaps the most notable general trend to be gleaned from the graph i n regards to the t r a d i t i o n a l 'grocery' outlets i s the r e s i l i e n c e of the Chinese provision sector. This r e l a t i v e s t a b i l i t y illuminates a theme, changes i n the food r e t a i l i n g / d i s t r i b u t i o n system tend not so much to be simply the r e s u l t of a repudiation of t r a d i t i o n a l goods but are also linked to the ecologies and economies of d i f f e r i n g kinds of r e t a i l o u t l e t s . 105 Graph 6. 6000 5000 4000J F r e s h 3000- / _ G J M ^ ^ f C h i n . P r o v i s i o n s 2000 1000 '971 75 76 77 78 79 SO 81 33 84 85 Source: Hong Kong Survey of Wholesale, R e t a i l ... 1984. 2. Comparing R e t a i l Types. There are some rather i n t e r e s t i n g comparison to be made i n egards to the 'nature' of d i f f e r e n t o u t l e t s . Of p a r t i c u l a r 106 note are the rather stark differences i n the two growth areas of FFV and supermarkets. Few areas exemplify the divergence i n the nature of these two kinds of establishments as much as the number of employees per establishment. Table 18 i l l u s t r a t e s the vast differences i n the size of these of two sorts of ou t l e t s . Table 18. Scale of operations, Number of Employees,Selected R e t a i l Types Types # of employees >10 emp. <5 emp. Supermarket 84% 3.4% Fresh F r u i t and Vegetables 4.1% 88.2% Groc's of Chinese Prov. 6.1% 64.4% Groc's of General Prov. 5.8% 76.9% Source: Hong Kong, Survey of Wholesale, R e t a i l ... 1984. Cl e a r l y supermarkets represent a r a d i c a l departure from the Hong Kong norm of small enterprises (cf. Peattie 1985) yet the FFV sector seems to epitomize that model. The differences between these two types of outlets go deeper than the number of employees. (see Table 19) The i n t e r - r e l a t i o n s h i p of value addition per unit sales, sales per establishment and gross margin per establishment i s most t e l l i n g (see Table 17). The smaller (see above) more numerous FFV outlets get more 'value' from every sales d o l l a r . They have twice the l e v e l of value-addition per unit of sales that the supermarket does. This i s one reason for the p r o l i f e r a t i o n of t h i s kind of ou t l e t . 107 The o v e r a l l value-addition and sales per establishment are far lower for FFV outlets than supermarkets. This i s part of the nature of each. The FFV has a lower turnover and smaller market but by d i r e c t l y serving a market (eg. by location) i t extracts the maximum value-addition. The supermarket i s the inverse. The nature of these two very d i f f e r e n t 'niches' can t e l l one much about the food system i n Hong Kong as well as the more general question of the modernization of food systems. The FFV goes to, and adapts to the market. The supermarket through p r i c e , d i v e r s i t y and marketing seeks to bring the consumer to i t . This i s a c r i t i c a l d i s t i n c t i o n . Table 19 Sales, Gross Margin and Value-Addition Selected R e t a i l Types (HK $'s) R e t a i l Types VA/Sales VA/Est. GM/Sales GM/Est. Supermarkets 11.7 294.1 13.6 343.3 Groceries of Chinese Provisions 15.9 53 16.9 56 Groceries of General Provisions 16.7 32 18.3 35 Fresh F r u i t s and Vegetables S e l l e r s 27.1 26 28.8 28 VA - 'Census Value Added' GM - Gross Margin Est - Establishment Source: Derived from data i n 1982 Hong Kong Survey of  Wholesale, R e t a i l and Import/Export Trades, Restaurants and Hotels 108 3. The Supermarket i n Hong Kong. a. General Growth Trends. The most covert manifestation of the mass-market i n the food r e t a i l i n g sector i s the supermarket. I t represents what i s to some the vanguard (e.g. Kaynak 1982:246) and to others the d u l l homogenization of the mass-market. Newcombe (1977:336) for example, writes that, "supermarkets are the same i n Hong Kong as they are throughout the rest of the world". Graph 7. 320 -| 300 280 _ 260 240 220 -200 180 160 140 120 J 100 Graph Index of Va lue of S a l e s ' Supermarkets / / . Consumer Durab les - - F o o d s t u f f s , A l c h . . T o b a c c o Department S t o r e s A l l R e t a i l T rades 80 81 i— 82 83 ~1 84 85 Source: Hong Kong Annual Digest of S t a t i s t i c s , 1986. In Hong Kong the numbers of supermarkets increased from 62 i n 1974/75 to 655 i n 1984/85. Yet even t h i s growth does not t e l l the whole story because i t i s the nature of supermarkets that they do more business with fewer outlets. Thus, perhaps Graph 7 gives a more accurate picture of the growth of the Hong Kong supermarket sector. Supermarkets have increased t h e i r share of the Hong Kong food r e t a i l i n g market from n e g l i g i b l e l e v e l s i n the late 1960's to approximately 55% today. (SCMP 9/1/86) b. A Case Study. The vibrancy of the supermarket sector i s p a r t i c u l a r l y evident i f one focuses on a s p e c i f i c chain. The Wellcome chain, and i t s d i r e c t parent firm, Dairy Farm, seem the archetypal exemplars of the process of growth, c a p i t a l i z a t i o n and i n t e r n a t i o n a l i z a t i o n of t h i s facet of the Hong Kong food system. From 1981 to 1985 Wellcome Supermarkets increased i t s share of Hong Kong food sales from' 8 per cent to 13.7 per cent. Dairy Farm had small beginnings. When i t was founded i n 1886 i t was s t r i c t l y a supplier of fresh milk. From that time i t expanded into general dairy products (1896), into i c e production (1918), then into a j o i n t venture with Lane Crawford Ltd. (U.K.) to open i t s f i r s t two supermarkets (1960). In 1964 Dairy Farm bought the Wellcome Company, then primarily a food 110 wholesaler (with one supermarket). In 1972 Diary Farm was acquired by Hong Kong Land. Since that time i t has greatly expanded both within the Hong Kong market and in t e r n a t i o n a l l y , acquiring ( i n 1979) the Franklins Food chain i n A u s t r a l i a . Presently Dairy Farm i s 'de-merging' from Hong Kong Land i n order to give investors a chance to r e a l i z e some of Dairy Farm's " p r o f i t a b i l i t y and growth prospects which were submerged i n the context of Hong Kong Land's large and asset-dominated balance sheet" ( H i l l and Knowlton Asia Ltd. 1987:3). The recession r e s i s t a n t nature of the food industry i s evident i n Dairy Farm's rel a t i o n s h i p with Hong Kong Land: Ultimate c o n t r o l l i n g shareholder Jardine Matheson wants Dairy Farm l i s t e d (de-merged and floate d on the stock exchange) i n order to unlock i t s market worth. In recent years Dairy Farm has been constrained by parent Hong Kong Land, which wholly owns i t . Cash-flow r i c h Dairy Farm has had to subsidize Land to the tune of an estimated 33 percent of Land's cash flow i n the 1982-84 property squeeze. (SCMP 1/9/86) Table 20 Growth of Wellcome Supermarkets Year 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 HK$m HK$m HK$m HK$m HK$m Sales 872 1,083 1,302 1,785 2,201 # of Est. 50 61 73 86 104 Footage(000) 227 300 372 455 602 Share of HK Food Sales % 8 9.1 9.5 11.2 13.7 Source: Barclays de Zoete Wedd 1986 I l l Dairy Farm's parent firm i s now a Bermuda holding company. The Chairman of Dairy Farm states that t h i s new structure, "primarily r e f l e c t s the company's e x i s t i n g and p o t e n t i a l i n t e r n a t i o n a l spread of business..."(ibid). Dairy Farm i s now a very large and booming concern. Total sales i n 1986 were HK$ 10.2 b i l l i o n , that was a 20% increase over 1985. Its Hong Kong operations, while not at the scale of the Australian enterprise, exhibited markedly better growth, increasing from HK$ 1.1 b i l l i o n i n 1981 to HK$ 2.7 b i l l i o n i n 1985. The l i o n ' s share of t h i s growth was a r e s u l t of the success of the Wellcome chain. Table 20, above, i l l u s t r a t e s the r e t a i l e r ' s phenomenal growth. This growth shows few signs of abating. Wellcome plans to open 20 new outlets i n Hong Kong during 1987 (Diary Farms International Holdings Ltd. 1986). Further, Dairy Farm i s e x h i b i t i n g a tendency to expand v i a v e r t i c a l integration as well. Turnover i n i t s manufacturing and trading d i v i s i o n increased from HK$ 240 m i l l i o n i n 1981 to HK$ 408 m i l l i o n i n 1985. c. Supermarkets and Market Control. The r a p i d i t y of growth i n the supermarket sector i s i n d i c a t i v e of the state of f l u x within the Hong Kong food system. I t i s also i n d i c a t i v e of the market 'momentum' of 112 supermarketing i n Hong Kong. The two major chains i n Hong Kong are 'Wellcome' and 'Park n' Shop' (the l a t t e r c o n t r o l l e d by the another 'hong', Hutchison-Whampoa). These two chains are coming to dominate the Hong Kong supermarket sector. Ian Wade, a managing d i r e c t o r of Wellcome's parent company claims that "the two major chains are now so big that (they) v i r t u a l l y dictate the market." (The B u l l e t i n Oct. 1986:51) They have increased t h e i r market share through a number of aggressive marketing t a c t i c s . These include: 1) predatory price competition: "As i n price competition anywhere else small operations s u f f e r . 'If you're bigger you can afford to spread your problems.'", Wade says; 2) monopolizing s e l l i n g r i g h t s ; i n Hong Kong the large r e t a i l e r s are establishing d i r e c t t i e s to producers i n the int e r n a t i o n a l market place and are even developing t h e i r own brand names; 3) l i n e s of c r e d i t are also biased towards larger r e t a i l e r s , suppliers o f f e r the big chains 120 days' c r e d i t , while the smaller operations only get a 90 day term. (The B u l l e t i n Oct. 1986:51) Large supermarkets can adopt these t a c t i c s because of th e i r s i z e . Further, i t i s these kinds of t a c t i c s which increase t h e i r s i z e . Another source of market advantage for the chain supermarkets i s through the technologies of r e t a i l i n g . For example, these chains have introduced the l a t e s t i n storage and inventory control technologies (eg. 'just-in-time inventory 113 c o n t r o l ' ) . The big chains are also importing new in-store production technologies, e s p e c i a l l y for t h e i r bakeries. For example, Dairy Farm, the owner of the Wellcome chain has just entered into a j o i n t venture agreement with 'Mrs. F i e l d Inc.' to l o c a l l y produce and d i s t r i b u t e a v a r i e t y of baked goods. Mrs. F i e l d i s a global corporation with 380 outlets worldwide. (SCMP 25/9/86) Park N' Shop has inked a s i m i l a r deal with F u j i Bakery -- Japan's largest with 2,000 r e t a i l o u t l e t s . (The  Standard 4/13/86) High leve l s of c a p i t a l and technological inputs have made supermarkets more competitive and changed the nature of food r e t a i l i n g i n Hong Kong. d. The Supermarket In S i t u , Effects and Needs. The r e t a i l i n g and marketing techniques of the larger supermarkets have increased t h e i r market share, l a r g e l y at the cost of a decline i n the numbers of small-scale supermarkets and/or grocers. Yet perhaps more importantly the techniques of the large chains have changed the way competitors are l i k e l y to do business. The success of supermarketing has forced competitors to change t h e i r r e t a i l i n g techniques and products. In t h i s sense the supermarkets have acted as catalysts of c a p i t a l i z a t i o n . The impact of the supermarket goes even deeper than t h i s . Their presence r e f l e c t s and e f f e c t s changes i n the nature of the consumer and consumption. 114 In Hong Kong the supermarket i s more than an indicator of 'westernizing food r e t a i l i n g ' , i t "marks a r a d i c a l departure from the past" (Leeming 1977). I t i s a concrete feature i n the l o c a l s p a t i a l and socio-economic f a b r i c . I t interacts with i t s l o c a l e . Perhaps i t would be more apropos to say that they i n t e r a c t with t h e i r milieu. A key feature of the nature of supermarkets i s that they are usually parts of chains. Indeed the "growth of multiples, of shops that were organized i n branches along national (and international) l i n e s , " i s the basis of what has been termed the "second r e t a i l i n g revolution". (Davis 1966, c i t e d i n Goody 1982:168) The importance of the fact that supermarkets are generally chain stores l i e s i n the consistency t h i s brings to the marketplace. Supermarkets adopt a marketing scheme (closely linked to the types of goods they purvey) and use i t i n a l l out l e t s . In t h i s way they f a c i l i t a t e the geographical dispersion of a given mode of marketing and enhance the process of standardization of product. Kaynak fe e l s that these outlets act i n a manner sim i l a r to Schumpeter's 'innovating i n s t i t u t i o n s ' . He writes that: The competitive s i t u a t i o n i n the market i s never the same afte r such i n s t i t u t i o n s enter the marketplace; they are i n s t i t u t i o n s that seem to d i f f e r not only i n degree but i n kind.(1982:247) 115 This assertion seems p a r t i c u l a r l y v a l i d i n the supermarket case. Supermarkets require s h i f t s i n l o c a l consumption practices and they o f f e r incentives to bring these changes about: by p r i c i n g of packaged goods, d i v e r s i t y of produce, providing a wide range of goods and services and by taking advantage of the marketing and advertising programs of branded goods. Yet to succeed, the supermarket requires changes i n consumers' purchasing patterns. The extent to which the market i s conducive to supermarketing i s described by the l e v e l of 'outreach'. i ) Supermarket Outreach. 'Outreach' describes a complex t o t a l i t y of s o c i a l and i n f r a - s t r u c t u r a l changes which are f a c i l i t a t e d by, and f a c i l i t a t e the growth of the supermarket sector. It covers things such as the decline i n the role of l o c a l grocer as community centre to increased income leve l s to the increasing pervasiveness of media exposure. Outreach i s a r e f l e c t i o n of the ' f i t ' between the nature of the supermarket as r e t a i l e r and the consumer. Although both adjust, the dominant tendency i s for the consumer to adapt to the nature of the supermarket, spurred on by convenience, cost and marketing incentives. The supermarket requires 'outreach', changes i n consumption patterns. For example, as Goldman writes, 116 The major factor l i m i t i n g outreach i s that i n order for consumers to reap the benefits of low price and wide se l e c t i o n offered by the supermarket they have to change t h e i r basic shopping habits ... the supermarket shopper adjusts for t h i s increase i n t r a v e l distance and time by reducing shopping frequency. (Goldman 1974:65) Goldman's assertions informs t h i s discussion i n a number of ways. Centrally, i t states the necessity of change i n consumer's habits, patterns and incomes. From the nature of supermarket shopping one can i d e n t i f y some important variables i n the success i n supermarket 'outreach.' Broadly put, these include increased income l e v e l s , changes i n the timing of payments ( i . e . , weekly or bi-weekly as appossed to daily) changes i n household technology, and s p a t i a l variables. A l l three areas are i n t e r - r e l a t e d but income leve l s have primacy. Because supermarket shopping i s premised on fewer, bigger shopping t r i p s i t i s dependent on increased income levels i n order to f a c i l i t a t e the purchase of more than a few days' food at one time. A c o r o l l a r y to t h i s i s the importance of the increased a b i l i t y to purchase appliances (and/or storage space) i n order to keep food i n between less-frequent shopping t r i p s (eg. r e f r i g e r a t o r s ) and to process the food when required (eg. blenders). As outlined e a r l i e r , income leve l s have increased considerably i n Hong Kong over the l a s t 25 years. This increase was e s p e c i a l l y evident among the upper-middle income 117 groups. This i s quite important because t h i s group of people are usually the i n i t i a l target market for supermarkets. (Goldman 1974) They are often quite i n t e r n a t i o n a l l y oriented and are taste-setters. E a r l i e r i n t h i s discussion the role of these people i n disseminating consumption patterns was outlined. Among the trends noted was the increased expenditure on consumer durables. Among these durables are household appliances. Figures on the ownership of s p e c i f i c household appliances such as re f r i g e r a t o r s are not available. However, expenditures on "Furniture, furnishings and Household Equipment" are increasing rapidly. Expenditures under t h i s heading increased 100% from 1976 to 1985 (at constant 1980 market prices -- Hong  Kong Annual Digest of S t a t i s t i c s 1986) . By 1985 they accounted for 12% of t o t a l private consumption expenditures. One can only i n f e r that at least part of these expenditures went towards r e f r i g e r a t o r s and other food appliances. The increased usage of household appliances i s c r i t i c a l to the outreach of supermarkets, the emergence of i n d u s t r i a l i z e d foods (Goody 1979), and the convergence of food consumption patterns. A t h i r d set of factors which impact outreach may be termed ' s p a t i a l ' . 'Space' impacts outreach i n terms of 'the neighbourhood e f f e c t ' , market s i z e , communication levels and transportation. The neighbourhood e f f e c t i s a c r i t i c a l 118 variable, i t refers to the scale of the market. Part of the emergence of the i n d u s t r i a l palate i s found i n the changing scale of the marketplace; away from the personal scale and towards the 'mass' scale. An example may serve to i l l u s t r a t e t h i s point. T r a d i t i o n a l l y the l o c a l grocer was the personal guarantor of the q u a l i t y of his or her goods. This role was very important because the q u a l i t y of goods was often highly variable and adulteration was rampant (Goody 1982:173). Now, however, as foods have become much more standardized and branded, and there i s a greater density of information flow on the nature of goods, the importance of t h i s role i s d e c l i n i n g . As Goody has written, ... the shopkeeper was no longer the one who selected and c e r t i f i e d the product; that was done by the producer and packager, by the name and the advertisement. (1982:173) Another s p a t i a l factor i s the f r i c t i o n of transportation. Transportation f a c i l i t i e s are i n t e g r a l parts of the ecologies and economies of c e n t r a l i z e d supermarkets. In Hong Kong private transportation i s quite limited. Hong Kong tends to rank low i n terms of private automobile ownership (Yeung 1985a). The lack of private transportation i n Hong Kong i s at least p a r t i a l l y ameliorated by public and private t r a n s i t and Hong Kong's high d e n s i t i e s . Supermarkets are most frequently found i n areas of high density (and high income) or a high 119 throughput of population (e.g. Peak and Central respectively --Hong Kong Survey of Wholesale, R e t a i l . . . 1986). The average number of households per outlet tends to be much higher for supermarkets than for other outlet types. The presence of supermarkets i s also much more uneven i n s p a t i a l terms. The number of households/outlet for supermarkets ranges from 578 ( i n Central d i s t r i c t ) to 23,187 (in Lei Yue Mun d i s t r i c t -- Establishments and Employment i n Wholesale R e t a i l  and Import/Export... 1979). This variance i s a r e f l e c t i o n of the v a r i a b i l i t y of 'outreach'. Outreach also refers to changes i n the types of goods consumed. Consumers need to switch to packaged goods i n order for the supermarket to f u l l y e x ploit i t s market advantages. The linkage between the supermarket and the types of goods i t s e l l s i s exemplified by the t r a i t of 'selective adoption'. Research indicates that even when supermarket shopping becomes widely adopted, very few consumers i n LDCs buy a l l t h e i r goods i n them. A number of writers have observed that the supermarket i n developing countries turns out to be mostly a s e l l e r of grocery items. [ i . e . , packaged foods] (Goldman 1984:25) 120 4. The FFV, Selective Adoption, and the Competitive Niches of R e t a i l Types. 'Selective adoption' also appears to be prevalent i n Hong Kong, and exemplifies some of the strengths and weaknesses of the supermarket sector. In Hong Kong the wet markets, as FFV outlets are c a l l e d , have tenaciously held onto t h e i r share of the produce market. The v i a b i l i t y of the t r a d i t i o n a l produce sector has a number of sources. These l i e mainly i n p r i c i n g , f l e x i b i l i t y , q u a l i t y control and location. "Wet markets provide the widest range of fresh foods at very low prices ... supermarkets on the other hand, only have a l i m i t e d s e l e c t i o n and t h e i r prices are usually much higher." (The B u l l e t i n Oct. 1986:53) Hong Kong Councilman Lee Chik-yuet, an authority on the topic of FFVs, f e e l s that t h e i r success i s a r e s u l t of t h e i r f l e x i b i l i t y . He notes that, Market traders are much more f l e x i b l e i n t h e i r business s t y l e . They don't have to f i x what and how much they s e l l . When they go i n the morning to pick whatever they want to s e l l for the day, they can take the freshest merchandise.(ibid) Smaller r e t a i l e r s also purchase smaller l o t s and, therefore, wastage may be less of a factor i n t h e i r price structure. As they have a smaller inventory these traders can also go to the market. Small produce vendors are much more responsive to shopper's needs. They are keenly aware of l o c a l 121 produce requirements. They occupy a niche where i t i s c r i t i c a l to know p r e c i s e l y who needs what, and when. In Hong Kong the t r a d i t i o n a l c u l t u r a l p r e d i l e c t i o n for fresh produce has acted to enhance the v i a b i l i t y of t h i s sector. The booming growth of the FFV sector i s i n d i c a t i v e of the fact that change i n the food system i s not a u n i - l i n e a r process -- l o c a l variables count. The response of the supermarket sector i s i l l u s t r a t i v e of i t s inherently c a p i t a l - i n t e n s i v e and i n t e r n a t i o n a l bias. In order to lower prices Park N' Shop now 'sources' d i r e c t from producers i n the U.S., A u s t r a l i a and Europe. They seek to increase t h e i r s e l e c t i o n and freshness v i a c a p i t a l intensive modes of transportation. "We have 25 tons of fresh produce coming i n by a i r every day." (Ian Wade, The B u l l e t i n 1986:52) Thus, one may again assert the interdependence of the l o c a l supermarket economy and the world food product industry. The growth of the supermarket sector i s i n d i c a t i v e of the health of the market for branded, processed foodstuffs i n general. Judging by present trends one might imagine an increasingly d u a l i s t i c food r e t a i l i n g sector. In t h i s view supermarkets, being more t a i l o r e d to (indeed dependent on) the s e l l i n g of highly processed, branded and usually imported 122 foodstuffs w i l l i n e v i t a b l y destroy the small scale grocery sector. The resultant p r o f i l e would be one of a large scale supermarket sector and a small scale produce sector. This i s by no means ce r t a i n . I t seems probable that the FFV outlets w i l l themselves change. As McGee has argued regarding Hong Kong's hawkers i n general, i t seems only a matter of time u n t i l c a p i t a l penetration relegates the hawker to a picturesque memory. (McGee 1973) This process may be hastened by improvements i n supermarket produce maintenance and cost reduction- 1 ^  or more d i r e c t l y , through the increasing impingement of the global food system i n the produce market. The point i s that one should not carry dualisms too f a r . Neither sector has a perpetual monopoly on the goods they tend to s e l l . The l o c a l supermarket i s both a r e f l e c t i o n and a source of changes i n l o c a l food consumption patterns, The supermarket presents the consumer with (often) lower costs, wider se l e c t i o n and a s t a b i l i t y of product but requires that the consumer adapt to i t s imperatives. Thus, the supermarket i s a l o c a l agent of change (one among many). However, the supermarket i s not the only harbinger of the impingement of the global food system. 123 5. The FFV Sector, The Convenience Store and the Penetration of the World Food System. a. The FFV sector Interestingly, i t i s possible to argue that the FFV sector i s i t s e l f an excellent example of the depth of penetration of the world food system. In many ways the FFV outlets i l l u s t r a t e the thesis of conservation - d i s s o l u t i o n (Bettleheim 1979). In most areas of Hong Kong one can r e i t e r a t e Leeming's (1979) thoughts on Yaumati: "Most of the community's f r u i t s and vegetables are sold by hawkers" (Leeming, 1977:81). Increasingly, these micro-scale outlets are themselves becoming enmeshed i n the larger global food-system. This i s p a r t i c u l a r l y true i n the case of vegetables ( r e c a l l the increasing role of the USA i n vegetable imports). From 1975 to 1984 sales ( i n tonnage) at Cheung Sha Wan Imported Vegetable Market (which i s a source of supply for hawkers) increased 65%. (Hong Kong Annual Digest of S t a t i s t i c s 1986.) The i n t e r - r e l a t i o n of micro and macro i s , indeed, quite e x p l i c i t i n the nature of the vegetable sector. The share of imported versus l o c a l vegetables i s increasing. Further, more and more of these vegetables are coming from 'core' sources, p a r t i c u l a r l y the USA. (Recall the dominance of food transnationals i n global food c i r c u l a t i o n -- UN 1981:51) Yet one also sees a p r o l i f e r a t i o n of small fresh f r u i t and 124 vegetable s e l l e r s . In unison these two trends exemplify the i n t e r a c t i o n of scales and the increasing depth of penetration of the world food system into the day to day l i v e s of people of Hong Kong. This process i s the beginning of the wedge where incoming foods are l i k e l y to become increasingly c a p i t a l i n t e n s i v e l y produced (as are l o c a l l y produced foods). The increasing le v e l s of c a p i t a l i n t e n s i t y and i n t e r n a t i o n a l i z a t i o n of the l o c a l produce market i s i n d i c a t i v e and supportive of an increasing role for large transnational vendors (see Clairmonte and Cavanagh 1982a, 1982b) and provides an entre for the emergence of the i n d u s t r i a l palate and the convergence of consumption practices. Another, perhaps more relevant, example of the problems of viewing the supermarket as the only vanguard of the global i n d u s t r i a l food system may be outlined i n terms of the s e l l i n g of processed and packaged foodstuffs. This area i s no longer the b a i l i w i c k of supermarkets alone. They are no longer the sole vanguard of the mass-market i n processed foods. b. The Convenience Store. In very recent times Hong Kong has witnessed the growth i n numbers of a t h i r d sort of r e t a i l outlet -- the convenience store. One could, i n f a c t , say that the growth of convenience stores has been explosive. In 1981 there were 8 125 'Seven-Elevens' i n Hong Kong, by 1986 there were 200 (Asian  Business 8/87:54). What i s a l l the more surprising i s that t h i s growth occurred alongside the boom i n supermarkets and a general contraction i n the number of food r e t a i l outlets from approximately 10,000 i n 1983 to 8,000 i n 1986. In many ways the boom i n convenience stores i s quite understandable. The convenience store represents a hybrid of the large scale, highly c a p i t a l i z e d supermarket s e l l i n g packaged, branded goods and the l o c a l small scale enterprise (the Hong Kong norm). I t d i f f e r s from t r a d i t i o n a l grocers i n a number of ways. The most ce n t r a l of these are i t s c a p i t a l investment, and use of r e t a i l i n g technologies (eg. s e l f - s e r v i c e e t c ) . Linked to these c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s i s the fact that these outlets are franchises. Vendors buy an i n t a c t marketing and r e t a i l i n g program which has been perfected abroad. Franchise outlets are a prime source of convergence. Part of 'the package' i s the standardization of process and product. One advantage of franchised r e t a i l types i s i n the 'science of s e l l i n g ' , The biggest bonus of a l l i s i n the system, a c a r e f u l l y l a i d out set of rules for marketing, service and advertising that, with hard work almost guarantees success. (Asian Business. 8/87:54) Or, i n the words of one Hong Kong franchisee: 126 You do not have to think about a l o t of things. You just do what the system t e l l s you. (Ibid) The s i t u a t i o n i s not quite as clear cut as the above c i t a t i o n s may suggest. Franchised convenience stores have not experienced untrammelled success i n Hong Kong. In the early days of the introduction of Seven-Elevens i n Hong Kong the f a i l u r e rate was almost 40%. Yet despite the early a t t r i t i o n Seven-Elevens and t h e i r system of marketing goods are now very successful. One source of t h i s more recent success i s the companies stringent screening of franchisees. Now the company i s not just interested i n who i s w i l l i n g to buy a franchise, but i s looking at other variables as well. Among these are s i n c e r i t y , managerial s k i l l s and "a stable family with plenty of r e l a t i v e s who can help out i n the tough 24-hour-a-day operation." (Ibid) In t h i s l a t t e r r e q u i s i t e one gets a good ins i g h t into the interdependence of global forces and enterprises and l o c a l s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s . Franchise food stores t r y to meld the strengths of l o c a l i n d i v i d u a l s with the science of s e l l i n g to project t h e i r market through space. In doing so they extend the l o g i c of the i n d u s t r i a l palate and serve to d i s t r i b u t e i n d u s t r i a l food products. These products are often those of equally i n t e r n a t i o n a l food T.N.C.s (eg. Coke, Hostess). In t h i s way 127 the global franchiser and l o c a l entrepreneur enhance the process of converging consumption patterns. 4. In Summation. In conclusion then, i t i s apparent that the Hong Kong food r e t a i l i n g system i s deeply a r t i c u l a t e d with the global food system. In many ways i t acts as a conduit for changes and forces i n the global food-system as a whole to i n t e r a c t with l o c a l consumption. The Hong Kong food d i s t r i b u t i o n system i s i n a state of f l u x . Rapid and unprecedented changes are r e v o l u t i o n i z i n g the way an increasing share of Hong Kong's food i s being sold. Though the ' c u l t u r a l f i l t e r ' of Cantonese dietary preferences has resulted i n a good deal of growth i n the seemingly more t r a d i t i o n a l fresh f r u i t and vegetable sector, these developments may be but a stop along the way to a f u l l e r i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n and i n t e r n a t i o n a l i z a t i o n of the food system. However the health of the FFV sector also shows the importance of l o c a l contingency, the f a c t that value addition i s not neccessarily always achieved by technological and c a p i t a l inputs (e.g., by location) and that there are multiple modes of infus s i o n for the world food system. The same may, i n part, be said of the success of the convenience stores. Although these outlets seem to be more e x p l i c i t e l y conduits for the 128 introduction of global consumption norms t h e i r success i s also due to the Hong Kong tendency to small establishments and the continued importance of locale i n the Hong Kong milieu. The supermarket i s the clearest example of the emergence of the i n d u s t r i a l palate. The tremendous increase i n the supermarkets' sales indicates the increasing importance of i n d u s t r i a l processed foods i n the l o c a l food system and the emergence of a mass market i n foods. The economic power of the supermarkets and the lure they hold for shoppers w i l l i n g to change the way they shop have deeply effected the nature of the l o c a l food system. These outlets make the most of t h e i r advantages of scale, but i n doing so they downplay the importance of geographical v a r i a b i l i t y , thus, convergence i s enhanced. Trends outlined i n t h i s thesis suggest that the nature of various r e t a i l outlets may e f f e c t the consumption patterns of consumers. These changes are f a c i l i t a t e d by the competitive edge of, for example, supermarkets and convenience stores. The r e t a i l outlets and the goods they purvey are acutely i n t e r - r e l a t e d so changes i n one area (eg. locale of purchase) enhance the prevalence of another (eg. types of goods purchased). Changes i n the r e t a i l sector e f f e c t and r e f l e c t changes i n the primary focus of t h i s paper -- consumption patterns. 129 CHAPTER V. CHANGING FOOD CONSUMPTION PATTERNS. To t h i s point the paper has outlined the context and c o n s t i t u t i o n of the Hong Kong 'food-system'. I t has focussed on describing the complexity of the i n t e r a c t i o n of scales through, and within various facets of the food system (eg. imports). The discussion has been most concerned with the 'l o g i c ' , i n a sense, the i n e v i t a b i l i t y of c a p i t a l i n t e n s i f i c a t i o n and convergence. Yet these broad brush-strokes have painted a rather circumstantial and deterministic image which has perhaps led the viewers eye away from the subject of the piece. The background i s i n t a c t , i t i s now necessary to conclude by sketching-in some of the rather more human d e t a i l to f i n d out how the trends outlined above are shaped by, and impact i n d i v i d u a l consumption choices. As outlined above, as Hong Kong has developed and income level s have grown the average l e v e l of expenditure on food has declined. However, though food has come to occupy a smaller f r a c t i o n of the Hong Kong expenditure matrix i t i s s t i l l the predominant expense (the more so the lower the income l e v e l ) . Food consumption and expenditure patterns are s t i l l a c e n t r a l part of the l i v e s of most of the people of Hong Kong. 130 There are two d i s t i n c t areas of change i n the consumption habits of the people of Hong Kong. The f i r s t i s the changing locale of eating. The second i s the change i n the types of the foods found i n the Home Shopping Basket (HSB). These two themes are the focus of the remainder of t h i s part of the study. A. Meals Bought Away From Home (MBAH) One of the major s h i f t s i n the food consumption patterns of the people of Hong Kong i s i n the locale of eating. Average expenditure on meals bought away from home (MBAH) increased from 7.5% to 19% of t o t a l expenditures between 1963/64 and 1984/85. (derived from Hong Kong Report of the Household  Expenditure Survey 1984/1985. and Hong Kong, The Household  Expenditure Survey 1963/64 and Consumer Price Index) This trend i s symptomatic of the process of 'modernizing' food consumption patterns, and i l l u s t r a t e s several key features of that process. One can conceive of changes i n the locale of eating as being something of a bridge between the rather s t r u c t u r a l variables outlined above (e.g. the requisites of supermarket shopping) and actual changes i n food consumption; i t i s representative of both. The change i n the venue of eating i s 131 at once a change i n food consumption patterns and i t i s d i r e c t l y linked to the dynamics of a p a r t i c u l a r sector of the food economy - the restaurant sector. To examine some of the dynamics of the increasing trend 'to eat out*, t h i s section w i l l consider recent changes i n the restaurant industry. The restaurant industry has a number of unique features which make i t relevant to the discussion of t h i s thesis. F i r s t , the restaurant represents an option whereby the consumer can trade convenience and time-savings for money. The restaurant thus adds value by d e l i v e r i n g the required commodities i n an edible form at a time and a place which are acceptable, i f not pleasant i n themselves (e.g. decor). Secondly, the c l i e n t e l e of the restaurant sector as a whole tend to be wealthier than most. Thus, restaurants tend to serve that sector of society most often i d e n t i f i e d as being the least t r a d i t i o n a l and who act as f o c i of status emulation. Thir d l y , restaurants are r e l a t i v e l y less susceptible to 'technological drag' than are household kitchens. The very layout and the appliances found i n t r a d i t i o n a l kitchens can prove a l i m i t i n g factor to new food adoption. Fourthly, as restaurants are private enterprises they need to be highly responsive to the market. The restaraunteur needs to be an an astute s o c i a l s c i e n t i s t . In many ways one can allow his or her business acumen to inform a discussion on changing tastes. Changes which are c r i t i c a l to his or her business. 132 which are c r i t i c a l to his or her business. 1. Trends i n the Restaurant Sector. There are some s i g n i f i c a n t trends developing within the Hong Kong restaurant sector (hawkers are omitted from t h i s analysis due to a lack of data). These trends take two forms -continuity and change. In the former instance there i s a continued burgeoning of sales i n the restaurant sector (see Graph 8). In the l a t t e r case, there appears to be a notable Graph 8. V a l u e o f T o t a l R e c e i p t s I By R e s t a u r a n t type ) F a s t r o o d Al 1 r e s t a u r a n t s N o n - C h i n e s e r e s t a u r a n t s I C h i n e s e r e s t a u r a n t s '77 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 Source: Hong Kong Survey of Wholesale, R e t a i l ... various years. 133 change occurring i n the types of restaurants frequented (and i n the types which show the most p r o f i t ) . Both of these trends r e f l e c t modernizing consumption and make the restaurant sector an important and useful a n a l y t i c a l category i n an analysis of the Hong Kong food regime. The reasons for the growth i n the restaurant sector are various. F i r s t , the Cantonese of Hong Kong have t r a d i t i o n a l l y placed a great deal of emphasis on 'eating out' (Anderson 1977a, 1977b, Salaff 1981:209, Newcombe 1977:341). Indeed the propensity for dining out i s a feature of even the lowest income strata's dietary regime (Chau 1980:499). The meal out i s an important s o c i a l repast on neutral grounds. As Graph 8 indicates t h i s t r a d i t i o n i s growing rapidly. Other sources of the growth i n the restaurant sector most l i k e l y l i e i n i n the areas of increased income and changes i n family structure ( i e . i n the i n d i r e c t route). As more women enter the work force t h e i r f a m i l i e s ' incomes increase, however, the time available for household chores decreases. This c h a r a c t e r i s t i c t r a i t of i n d u s t r i a l i z e d s o c i e t i e s has been referred to as the propensity for people to become income r i c h and time poor. This rather bald assertion has some u t i l i t y i f one conceives of i t i n a r e l a t i v e manner. The increase i n incomes and decrease i n time available for chores such as cooking i s a source of the increase i n expenditures on MBAH. 134 I t i s into t h i s niche that many restaurateurs move. They add value by saving time and labour (among other things) for the consumer. In essence the consumer trades back some of his or her income for more time. This i s one facet of the nature of the restaurant business, but i t i s a c r i t i c a l one for t h i s paper's purposes ( i t indicates the monetization of the routines of l i f e ) . In t h i s view the consumer not only v i s i t s the restaurant for s o c i a l purposes but also to make a transaction: money for time. In t h i s context the consumer i s l i k e l y to want to spend the least he or she can and devote the least time to the process. This i s of course the role of the f a s t food outlet, however, that i s to jump ahead i n the argument. For the moment, one can assert that the increase i n MBAH r e f l e c t s the consumers willingness to purchase value-added i n food (be that value-added a r e s u l t of decor, the patrons, the 'image' or the speed of service of the restaurant). In Hong Kong the p r o c l i v i t y to purchase value-added i n food i s d i s t i n c t l y manifest i n the robust growth i n the restaurant sector as a whole. Graph 8 i l l u s t r a t e s the generalized growth for the restaurant sector as a whole. The unadjusted growth-rate from 1977 to 1985 was 380%. A good deal of the buoyancy i n the sector as a whole seems to be the r e s u l t of growth i n the Chinese Restaurant Sector (CRS). This trend i s i n d i c a t i v e of 135 the fa c t that the process of modernizing consumption i s not s o l e l y made of repudiating t r a d i t i o n a l tastes. 2. The Chinese Restaurant Sector. Restaurants i n the CRS tend to be larger than either non-Chinese or fast-food restaurants. They also tend to do a higher volume of business per establishment. For instance (see Table 21 below), the l e v e l of sales per establishment i n the CRS i n 1983 was twice that of both non-Chinese restaurants and the f a s t food sector (FFS). TABLE 21 Comparative Sales per Establishment 1983 Type of Outlet Sales/Est. Chinese Restaurant HKD 3,860,000 / Est Non-Chinese Restaurant HKD 1,550,000 / Est Fast Food Shop HKD 1,690,000 / Est Source: Hong Kong, Survey of Wholesale, R e t a i l . . . 1984 The fa c t that CRS outlets are larger than the other types may seem to contradict some of the assertions made i n t h i s paper about the importance of 'scale' of operation. This i s not r e a l l y the case, and an explanation of why t h i s i s not so may serve to c r y s t a l l i z e that facet of t h i s paper's argument. Scale i s an important variable i n the convergence process. At the micro-level, however, sheer size i s not enough. Each 136 CRS outlet s i t s within a market rather than spanning a market. The i n t e r n a l dynamics of the i n d i v i d u a l outlet are u n l i k e l y to dominate any market sectors and therefore the convergence process may be traced more d i r e c t l y to 'exterior' s t r u c t u r a l forces rather than ' i n t e r i o r ' market control (as may be the case with large food TNCs). Thus, the route to convergence through an i n d i v i d u a l , or small group of companies c o n t r o l l i n g the market, i s not present. Secondly, i n terms of the food i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n / convergence nexus, scale i s not the key variable. What i s important here i s the l e v e l of c a p i t a l i z a t i o n , how value added i s achieved. U n t i l very recently the CRS was by far the least c a p i t a l i z e d of the three major restaurant types (Table 22). C a p i t a l i z a t i o n of process i s a key part of the emergence of the i n d u s t r i a l palate (and thus convergence) e s p e c i a l l y at the micro-scale (as i t i s i n d i c a t i v e of the increasing relevance of c a p i t a l i s t patterns of regulation). An important addendum to t h i s assertion i s the importance of the l e v e l of linkages between l o c a l and international actors ( r e c a l l the vegetable s e l l e r linkages). The Hong Kong CRS exhibits neither of these t r a i t s very extensively and seems to dominate the market. What does t h i s say about the ineluctable nature of c a p i t a l penetration? 137 3. Comparing the 'Health' of Restaurant Types. What i t says i s that the process i s not l i n e a r but m u l t i - l e v e l l e d . Further, the i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n and change i n the Hong Kong food system i s less v i s i b l e (at present) i n the big picture than i f one looks a b i t closer. The CRS i s not as 'healthy' as some of the above figures might suggest. If one examines the growth, and 'health' of each sub-sector a d i f f e r e n t picture emerges. The growth-rate for the CRS from 1977 to 1985 was 340%, yet for the fa s t food sector (FFS) i t was 1,181%. Granted the FFS began from a minute base and the absolute increase i n sales i s minimal when compared to the o v e r a l l growth i n the CRS, but t h i s does not deny the trend. For example, even i f one compares the most recent data (when the 'base' of the FFS i s at i t s greatest) the difference i n growth rates i s most s t r i k i n g . Using the quarterly averages from October 1984 to September 1985 as base 100: the value of the receipts for Chinese restaurants i n the second and t h i r d quarters of 1986 was 108, for the FFS i t was 131. (Report on  Quarterly Survey of Restaurant Reciepts and Purchases, various issues) Further, sales per establishment are increasing faster i n the FFS (30% from 1980-1983) than the CRS (10% from 1980-1983). (Hong Kong Survey of Wholesale, R e t a i l . . . various editions) The 'health' of restaurant sectors can i n some ways be discerned by the gross surplus per establishment. 138 Table 22. Characteristics of Restaurant Types 1980 1981 1982 1983 Gross Surplus/ Establishment (HK$) Chinese Restaurants ...215,000 232,149 205,405 99,212 Non-Chinese Rest 96,427 119,497 73,111 103,567 Fast Food Rest 163,129 206,866 158,506 171,428 Compensation for Employees, (pay/' emp. HK$) Chinese Retaurants 22,138 Non-Chinese Rest 21,044 Fast Food Rest 23,029 25,638 26,387 24,329 29,716 28,085 27,156 32,966 31,912 27,363 C a p i t a l i z a t i o n Ratio (Gross Addition to Fixed Assets/Est. over Compensation to Emps./Est.) Chinese Restaurants 14.9 Non-Chinese Rest 20.5 Fast Food . 50.6 14.5 18.0 61.1 14.7 20.1 49.1 20.2 20.0 53.7 Source: Derived from data i n Hong Kong, Survey of Wholesale, R e t a i l , and Import/Export Trades  Restaurants and Hotels. various years. Table 22 indicates that the FFS has surpassed the CRS i n terms of gross surplus per outl e t . Importantly, i t also seems to have been quicker to rebound aft e r the generalized slowdown of 1982. Cl e a r l y an analysis of the FFS can t e l l one much about what i s happening i n the Hong Kong restaurant sector, and where and how people are increasingly eating out. 139 4. The Hong Kong Fast Food Sector. The fast-food outlet does indeed seem to be the paragon of the processes being discussed i n t h i s paper. The sector i s c e r t a i n l y one of the most high p r o f i l e areas of convergence. There i s . no shortage of hyperbolic magazine or newspaper a r t i c l e s on the success of fas t foods i n Asia, or Hong Kong. The FFS seems a popular and highly v i s i b l e icon for the less v i s i b l e concerns of t h i s paper. In many ways the f a s t food outlet's c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s are reminiscent of those of the convenience stores (they are indeed, very s i m i l a r ) . Fast food outlets tend to be small (89% have fewer than 20 employees); they are also highly c a p i t a l i z e d (see Table 22). The high l e v e l of c a p i t a l i z a t i o n may be linked to another c h a r a c t e r i s t i c : d eclining r e l a t i v e wage rates ( i n regards to other restaurant types). These t r a i t s are i n some sense merely de s c r i p t i v e , not diagnostic. They t e l l one what the FFS looks l i k e , not necessarily how i t succeeds. The three key areas for success i n the f a s t food sector i n Hong Kong, and generally are as follows. 'Branding', though linked to an in t e r n a t i o n a l (e.g. McDonalds) not a national (e.g. U.S.A.) image ( F u j i t a 1986) i s c r i t i c a l to the success of fast food franchises. The consumer must be able to i d e n t i f y the outlet and the products i t purveys. Secondly, location i s 140 also important. In Hong Kong "the p o s i t i o n i s everything" (SCMP A/1/86). Prime positions are i n the CBD but as the market expands and competition deepens franchises disperse geographically, bringing the i n d u s t r i a l palate with them. Thirdl y , and most importantly,using the 'production system' ( F u j i t a 1986: 26, H i r s t 1983) i s the key to the expansion of the fa s t food sector.. McDonalds for example has 25,000 operating manuals ( F u j i t a 1986). The production of guaranteed standardized and branded food i s the key to the fa s t food outlets or i g i n s and success (Hirst 1983; Fishwick 1978; or c f . Belasco 1987). I t i s the "science of s e l l i n g " which gives the fa s t food shop i t s market advantage, and which also ultimately leads to the r a t i o n a l i z a t i o n of available food types - and thus to the convergence of consumption patterns. In Hong Kong the leader i n the fa s t food industry i s a l o c a l company c a l l e d 'Cafe de Coral'. Though t h i s company i s ostensibly l o c a l , i t f i t s quite smoothly into the mold of the g l o b a l l y franchised f a s t food outlet (with whom i t competes). The competition i n the FFS i s f i e r c e . In 1985 Cafe de Coral had a 21% market share. However, the market i s growing so fa s t that Cafe de Coral management f e e l i t must expand at a rate of at least 20%/annum to keep up (SCMP 5/18 1986). To do t h i s i t 141 w i l l need to b u i l d seven new outlets at two to three m i l l i o n US$ each t h i s year. As the company's founder and managing d i r e c t o r a t t e s t s : I t i s very expensive to maintain the companies' growth ... [But] ... Cafe de Coral has no choice, but to expand as f a s t as i t can, otherwise i t s leading p o s i t i o n w i l l be taken up by i t s competitors. (SCMP 4/8, 1986) Clearly, maintaining market share i s an expensive proposition i n a booming f a s t food industry. This i s one reason why franchising i s so popular and why very large (often self-financing) TNC's are generally so successful. They provide the techniques and products which have already been developed elsewhere (this t r a i t can be viewed i n a manner sim i l a r to the product-cycle hypothesis). Thus, the TNC's cost of expansion i s very low and i s often disproportionately devoted to marketing. The competitive edges, international image, and production systems of the well developed fa s t food franchises i n some ways force the competitors to mimic c e r t a i n facets of t h e i r marketing approach. Thus, convergence i s enhanced. The sheer c a p i t a l i n t e n s i t y of the enterprise of entering the f a s t food market reguires a s c i e n t i f i c approach to s e l l i n g - to the manufacture of food i n a d i s t i n c t l y i n d u s t r i a l manner. What one might assert to be the case then, i s that the f a s t food outlet becomes a very small scale food processor (as are 142 a l l restaurants) and one which i s very much integrated into the production and maintenance of the i n d u s t r i a l palate. Its success marks the penetration of the process of the i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n and thus the convergence of food consumption patterns. The Hong Kong f a s t food sector exemplifies the interplay of l o c a l economies and ecologies with the imperatives of int e r n a t i o n a l c a p i t a l . At one l e v e l the nature of "franchising" epitomizes the rel a t i o n s h i p of transnational c a p i t a l and the l o c a l bourgeoise. At another, the very introduction of highly c a p i t a l intensive and ' s c i e n t i f i c ' production and marketing techniques e l i c i t s a response from l o c a l competitors to do likewise. Thus the l o c a l entrepreneur acts as the l o c a l agent of change i n a much larger framework. An i n t r i g u i n g i l l u s t r a t i o n of the process of competition bringing about change i s seen i n Table 22. Although the v a r i a b i l i t y of these figures leaves them inconclusive, one might assert that there has been a notable increase i n the c a p i t a l i z a t i o n of the CRS. This may or may not be due to the growth of the FFS, whatever may be the case, the competitive milieux i n which i n d i v i d u a l managers have found themselves, led them to increase t h e i r rate of c a p i t a l i z a t i o n . The rate of c a p i t a l i z a t i o n , as discussed above, i s a c r i t i c a l variable i n 143 the process of i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n and convergence of food consumption. 5. In Summation. The rapid growth of the FFS i s in d i c a t i v e of the two key changes i n food consumption patterns among the people of Hong Kong. Both the types of food consumed and the place of consumption are undergoing major s h i f t s . Eating meals outside of the home presents a useful metaphor for the changes i n l o c a l food consumption patterns, they are increasingly less enveloped i n the t r a d i t i o n a l context of home and family and more ensconced i n the context of the i n d u s t r i a l palate. These s h i f t s are the response to (among many things) the marketing power of fast food outlets, the impact of status emulation, the 'ef f i c i e n c y ' of the production schemes of chain-restaurants, the increasing l e v e l of value-addition i n the food system as a whole, the increasing stress on the time-economies i n the home, and the l o c a l p r e d i l e c t i o n to dine out. Thus, the sources are many; but the r e s u l t i s the adoption of increasingly common global consumption norms. B. Changing Consumption Patterns at Home Changes are also occurring i n the "home shopping basket. Changes i n home consumption p r o f i l e s are one's most accurate 144 gauge of the r e s u l t of the balancing of choice and constraint. In f a c t , i t i s through consumption that the influence of the tangible and intangible forces outlined above become manifest. In l i g h t of t h i s c e n t r a i i t y , one might well ask just how one defines consumption. For t h i s section of the paper's purposes consumption i s considered to be the act of consumption/purchase. Such an approach has drawbacks. Cl e a r l y the act of purchasing food i s not the end of the food cycle. Goody (1982), for example, proposes three stages aft e r the purchase (these are cooking, eating and cleaning-up). Changes i n the d i s t r i b u t i o n of food or chores i n any one of these areas i s l i k e l y to be illu m i n a t i n g . I t would, for example, be very useful to have a coherent data set on absolute ( i e . quantity of) consumption by income group and within the family. In t h i s way one would get closer to the very functioning and dynamics of changing food consumption patterns. Such information i s not at present available. Fortunately, due to the s p e c i f i c focus of the present paper t h i s data s h o r t f a l l i s not as c r u c i a l as i t might have been i f one were looking at changing food  d i s t r i b u t i o n . Though the topic of t h i s paper i s overtly concerned with d i e t ; n u t r i t i o n i s beyond i t s purview. What i s important here i s not so much the quantity or q u a l i t y of food or nutrients consumed, but rather the res u l t s of the i n t e r a c t i o n of consumer choice with an over-arching food system. The focus here i s on 145 changing preferences and tastes within a set of constraints. With some caveats- 1^ these changes can be discerned by s h i f t s i n p r i o r i t y within a family's entire consumption/purchase decision p r o f i l e ( i . e . 100% of expenditures). As most people i n Hong Kong must purchase t h e i r food, the r e l a t i v e wieghtings of expenditure by foodstuff grouping should be broadly i n d i c a t i v e of the interplay of choice and constraint as manifest i n purchase decisions. 1. The Home Shopping Basket. The home shopping basket (HSB) i s that section of the expenditure on foodstuffs which excludes expenditures on meals bought away from home (MBAH). Simply put: HSB = Total foodstuff expenditures - MBAH. The HSB i s a useful category because i t allows one to examine a d i f f e r e n t i a t e d t o t a l i t y within which s h i f t i n g 'shares' may be discerned. There are no data on the s p e c i f i c food types consumed i n restaurants. The HSB represents 100% of a given ( i n t h i s case home food) consumption decision p r o f i l e . In t h i s paper, analysis w i l l look at changes i n the 'share' of various food products within t h i s t o t a l i t y . There i s no d i r e c t c o r r e l a t i o n between s h i f t i n g food preferences and changes i n expenditures. What expenditure patterns do i s give one some in d i c a t i o n of broad trends within 146 a s h i f t i n g market of changing supply, demand; prices and incomes. (This point w i l l be more f u l l y discussed i n the following section on foods showing a decline i n expenditure shares.) The weakness of the "share of expenditure' approach: i t s s u s c e p t i b i l i t y to variances i n prices and t o t a l expenditure l e v e l s , i s also i t s strength. What i s important i s how people p r i o r i t i z e t h e i r food consumption/purchase choices. With these cautions and concerns i n mind one can turn to the data set. Table 23 l i s t s the food-groupings gaining an increasing share within the HSB between 1963/64 and 1979/80, ranked by nominal percentage change. This refers to t h e i r actual increase i n percentage share of the HSB. Changes i n expenditure patterns as seen i n Table 23 are supportive and r e f l e c t i v e of s h i f t s we have noted elsewhere i n t h i s analysis, and of our assertions about the i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n of the Hong Kong food system and d i e t . Few of the 'growth-areas' i n expenditure d i s t r i b u t i o n could be termed t r a d i t i o n a l (e.g. pork, r i c e products, and fresh vegetables, though these are s t i l l important portions of the expenditure p r o f i l e ) . 147 Table 23 Foodstuffs Increasing Share of Home Shopping Basket Expenditures From 1963/64 to 1979/80 A l l Surveyed Population Rank Foodstuff Nominal % Rate of Change % Change 1) F r u i t , Fresh 4.69 100.4 2) Meat/Poultry, Frozen 3.26 N/A* 3) Fish, other 3.23 587.3 4) Confectionery 1.40 170.7 5) Meat/Poultry Tinned .95 N/A* 6) Meat, other .91 18.4 7) Foods, other .61 14.8 8) F r u i t , other .57 203 .6 9) Tea, Coffee, Soda, Juices .48 25.0 10) B i s c u i t s .27 33.0 11) Milk, fresh .20 36.4 * This grouping, not i n 1963/64 tables. Sources: Derived from Report of the Household Expenditure  Survey ... 1981, 1965 148 Table 24 Foodstuffs Decreasing Share of Home Shopping Basket Expenditures From 1963/64 to 1979/80 A l l Surveyed Population Rank Foodstuff Nominal % Rate of % Change Change 1. Rice -8.4 -56.0 2. Eggs -2.9 -61.5 3. Beef, l o c a l -1.3 -30.2 4. Dried Sea Products -1.0 -40.5 5. Pork l o c a l -1.0 - 8.5 6. Milk Powder - .8 -32.8 7. Freshwater Fish, Fresh - .6 - 9.9 8. Breadcakes - .5 -10.0 9. Beans/Peas - .4 -65.5 10. Sugar - . 3 -36.6 11. Vegetables, Other - .2 -19.5 12. Vegetables, Fresh - .1 - 1 13. Other Cereals - .1 - 4.9 Sources: Report of the Household Expenditure Survey ... 1981, 1965. 149 Indeed, the food groupings showing gains have tended to be of the more processed and value-added types (e.g. more so than cereals, eggs etc.) The leading growth sector i s fresh f r u i t s , these f r u i t s are increasingly coming from further and further a f i e l d . Frozen meat and poultry are amongst the o r i g i n a l i n d u s t r i a l foods (see Horst 1974). 'Fish other' includes processed, canned, and frozen f i s h . 'Fruits other' are s o l e l y preserved and/or processed. Confectionery products are of course processed and exemplify a second underlying t r a i t --branding. Most of the foodstuffs showing an increasing share of ^expenditures are subject to branding; they are processed, 'international', and highly c a p i t a l i z e d 'industrial-food' types. The groupings showing a de c l i n i n g share of expenditures i n the population as a whole tend to be more t r a d i t i o n a l . The food groupings showing a decline i n share of expenditures are l i s t e d i n Table 24. The reader w i l l note the l o c a l , t r a d i t i o n a l low value - added and 'staple' nature of these foodstuffs. In fact t h i s l i s t i n g seems almost an inventory of t r a d i t i o n a l food types. The consistency of the t r a d i t i o n a l nature of foods showing a decline i s so marked that i t raises some concerns about just what t h i s data set i s t e l l i n g one. One might well wonder whether the perceived drop i n the share of expenditures i s not l i k e l y to be due to a decline i n 150 the p r i c e of these goods or an o v e r a l l increase i n r e a l income l e v e l s . Such events might cause the proportion of expenditures given over to t r a d i t i o n a l staples to drop. This i s because staples tend to be price and income i n e l a s t i c . In general i t has been shown that underpriced food from China has allowed Hong Kong a unique immunity to the food price i n f l a t i o n that so often accompanies rapid i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n (Chau 1983:197). Chinese p o l i c i e s have suppressed the price of staples i n general, e s p e c i a l l y i n comparison to other foodstuffs. While r i c e prices rose about 2.5 times from 1963 to 1985 foodstuffs i n general increased approximately 3.5 times. Some foodstuffs experienced even more rapid price climbs. Oranges, for example, increased i n price over 4.5 times from 45 cents i n 1968 to 2.03 HKD per piece i n 1985. In such a s i t u a t i o n i f one's tastes remained constant (and a b i l i t y to purchase was not a problem) than the share of r i c e would decline and the share of oranges would increase. This i s not, however, to say that the data are of l i t t l e use, quite the contrary i s the case. The p r o b a b i l i t y of uneven price changes f i t s within the parameters and nature of the present argument for at least three reasons. F i r s t the decline i n the r e l a t i v e price of r i c e may be a r e f l e c t i o n of a lack of demand (though i t i s more l i k e l y to be a r e s u l t of a lack of demand and over supply). 151 The second reason i s perhaps more c r u c i a l to the present argument. The decline i n the r e l a t i v e price of r i c e i s only to be expected, as the rest of the food market becomes more c a p i t a l intense and contains more 'value-added'. Food prices i n general are increasing because of general i n f l a t i o n , but also due to the increased levels of processing and value-addition. This tendency occurs unevenly. T r a d i t i o n a l staples l i k e r i c e are not as subject to these l a t t e r pressures as are other areas such as livestock or more processed goods. F i n a l l y the r e l a t i v e decline i n the price of staples i s c r i t i c a l to the whole process of intensification/convergence. This i s true i n both the consumption and production spheres. An increase i n income le v e l s r e l a t i v e to the price of staples leaves more income available for discretionary spending. This i n turn increases the p o t e n t i a l for s h i f t i n g consumption patterns. The increase i n discretionary spending also creates an available market niche for transnational and national vendors. The generalized tendency for the r e l a t i v e value of staples to f a l l over the long-term i s a source of the continuing need of producers to add value, and of the a b i l i t y of consumers to purchase that value-added. Yet another point to come out of the analysis of expenditure data i s the need to place them i n context. For 152 example, one can show that the decline i n r i c e ' s share of expenditure i s i n f a c t due to decline i n o v e r a l l consumption le v e l s by examining data from other elements of the food system (similar analysis also confirms the downward trend i n other sta p l e s ) . Per capita r i c e imports and l o c a l production have plujrimeted. Thus, by examining the 'food system* as a whole one can assert that there has been a decline i n r i c e consumption. Rice has been singled out because i t has experienced the greatest decline i n expenditure lev e l s (though i t s t i l l occupies a large proportion of expenditures) and because i t i s the centre of the t r a d i t i o n a l meal. The Chinese word for meal and r i c e i s 'fan'. Other foods are merely 'sung'--additives. Clearly, from the evidence on expenditures Hong Kong food consumption patterns are undergoing a r a d i c a l transformation. The general nature of t h i s change i s away from t r a d i t i o n a l staples (exemplified by rice) and towards foods containing more value-addition and processing. These foods also tend to be more in t e r n a t i o n a l i n nature. It would seem that o v e r a l l expenditure patterns do confirm the nature of the processes outlined above. Yet there i s need to look more e x p l i c i t l y at the i n t e r n a l dynamics of the change. One way of doing t h i s i s by looking at differences i n expenditure lev e l s by expenditure cohorts. 153 a. Analysis by Expenditure Cohorts. Comparing expenditure lev e l s overtime for s p e c i f i c target cohorts i s extremely, i f not p r o h i b i t i v e l y d i f f i c u l t ^ ' Therefore, the attempt here i s to discern the impact and v a r i a b i l i t y of food preference patterns by expenditure l e v e l at a given time. Beginning with the 1963/64 data two expenditure cohorts have been abstracted. 1963/64 % of exp. on foodstuffs 1) Upper Expenditure Cohort (UEC) 1963/64-2,000,2/499/$ biweekly 26 2) Lower Expenditure Cohort (LEC) 1963/64-300-399/$ biweekly 56 note: Cohorts defined as per Hong Kong S t a t i s t i c s Department. Table 25 below i l l u s t r a t e s the differences i n expenditure patterns by expenditure cohort. The emergent scheme i s not very sur p r i s i n g . LEC expenditures tended to emphasize l o c a l l y produced, t r a d i t i o n a l staples ( i n t h i s they l i k e l y had l i t t l e choice). The UEC tastes tended to the cosmopolitan. Again, one must allow that the higher absolute lev e l s of expenditure leaves more room for non-staples (due to staples i n e l a s t i c i t y ) but t h i s does not explain the types of alternatives adapted. UEC preferences show a strong in t e r n a t i o n a l bias. UEC preferences tend to become models for the d i f f u s i o n of consumption patterns to the rest of society. 154 Table 25 1963/64 D i f f e r e n t i a l Allotment of Expenditures A. LEC % exp. notably > UEC Rice Fish, Saltwater, Fresh Fish, other Vegetables, Fresh Fish, Freshwater, Fresh Vegetables, others Beans/Peas B. UEC % exp. notably > LEC Sea Products dried B i s c u i t s Poultry Meat, other F r u i t , Fresh F r u i t , other Coffee, Soda, Juices Milk, Fresh Butter, Cheese Confectionery Foods, other Source: Derived from Report of Household Expenditure  Survey... 1965. The reader may note a rather s t a r t l i n g f i t between Tables 25 and 23. A l l foodstuffs for which data were available i n 1963/64 (except f i s h , other) which showed an increase i n t h e i r share of consumption (Table 23) are to be found on Table 25, which shows the 1963/64 food preferences of the upper expenditure cohort. So while consumption patterns do d i f f e r between cohorts at a given time there i s also an apparent e s s e n t i a l holism. Though one need assert no d i r e c t casual linkage; t h i s apparent 'trickle-down e f f e c t ' conforms to the consumption models outlined by Filguera (1981), Kumar (1978), Armstrong and McGee (1985) and others. The problems with comparing s p e c i f i c expenditure cohorts (es p e c i a l l y with the Hong Kong database) overtime are so extensive that one can only gingerly point to some perceived 155 variations i n consumption patterns between expenditure groups and overtime. At base the tendencies are for changes i n the UEC expenditure p r o f i l e to be towards even more expensive branded 'luxury' foods (e.g. confections), within the LEC the trend has been towards food containing value-added also. However, t h i s trend i s i t s e l f set i n a s h i f t towards greater apparent consumption leve l s of more 'basic' foods (though not necessarily ' t r a d i t i o n a l ' e.g. milk, red meat). Increased incomes have allowed the poor of Hong Kong to purchase food coming from more distant sources (e.g. vegetables from the U.S.) They have also brought the poor's consumption practices within the web of the in t e r n a t i o n a l food system and food transnationals. The d i r e c t impact of the global food-system i s more prevalent as one moves up the expenditure ladder. I t i s also more prevalent as one moves forward through time. The conclusion to be reached, therefore, i s that one i s witnessing the d i f f u s i o n of consumption patterns across income leve l s within the s p a t i a l confines of Hong Kong over time. In terms of the Home Shopping Basket, the d a i l y consumption patterns of the people of Hong Kong are changing. These changes are i n d i c a t i v e of much larger trends l y i n g below the s o c i e t a l surface. These trends are shaped by the i n t e r a c t i v e forces of the world food-system and ' s o c i a l change' ( i . e . the d i r e c t and i n d i r e c t routes to convergence) occurring within the context of the l o c a l milieu. 157 CHAPTER VII.  IN CONCLUSION... A. THINKING ABOUT CONVERGENCE. Advertising i s becoming inte r n a t i o n a l i z e d rather than Americanized -- the only trouble i s t e l l i n g the two apart. (David S. N i c o l l , c i t e d i n Anderson 1984:87) Despite the seeming acuity of N i c o l l ' s observation i t i s important to emphasize that convergence i s not westernization. This i s so because the process i s not simply one of un i l i n e a r c u l t u r a l domination. Though c u l t u r a l domination i s an important ingredient i n the mix which re s u l t s i n convergence, i t s roots l i e deeper than that. Convergence i s a process whereby there i s a u n i f i c a t i o n of global consumption norms. These consumption norms are global not merely national. For example, i n marketing McDonald's i n Asia the emphasis i s on the int e r n a t i o n a l brand name not the nation of o r i g i n . ( F u j i t a 1985) Despite the global nature of the process, l o c a l variables and actions are not inconsequential. Local place i s the cauldron where global trends are played out. These trends have many sources at many l e v e l s . To examine t h i s subtle and multivalent process and t o t a l i t y one needs to use an equally subtle framework. 158 1. Convergence as Discourse. Having worked through the analysis i t now seems useful to r e f l e c t and to see i f one can discern any broader t h e o r e t i c a l propositions. A useful way of conceptualizing s o c i o - c u l t u r a l change (including s h i f t s i n consumption practices) i s i n terms of an evolving 'discourse'. In t h i s usage, the term discourse refers to the sum of the inputs and interactions of various actors within a given set of s o c i a l milieux. As T h r i f t has written, ... s o c i a l a c t i v i t y i n any region takes place as a continous discourse, rooted i n a staggered series of shared material-situations that constantly a r i s e out of one another i n a d i a l e c t i c a l l y linked d i s t r i b u t i o n of opportunity and constraint, presence and absence. ( T h r i f t 1983:38) It i s the evolving t o t a l i t y which encompasses and expresses the in t e r p l a y of agency and various structures. A discourse must be seen as an active category, l o c a l inhabitants are not passive 'dupes' but active p a r t i c i p a n t s . What t h i s concept may lack i n precision i t makes up for i n veracity and u t i l i t y . The analogy of a discourse i s useful for a number of reasons. F i r s t l y , i t implies the importance of i n t e r a c t i o n and does not p o s i t any primary and/or determining causal r e l a t i o n s h i p s . A discourse requires at least two participants 159 and i s the expression of d i a l e c t i c a l i n t e r a c t i o n . Yet i t i s also more than t h i s , i t i s both the product and the context of multiple le v e l s of s o c i a l i n t e r a c t i o n . This i s also true of the convergence process, i t i s not simply a matter of western hegemony, but rather i t i s the summing of various inputs within the context of an evolving t o t a l i t y . More c r i t i c a l l y , the main u t i l i t y of the concept of discourse l i e s i n the way one can use i t to draw out the cen t r a l dynamics and constituents of convergence i n an integrated manner. This can be done through conceiving of the discourse i n l i n g u i s t i c terms. Along these l i n e s one can envision the elements of a discourse to be constituted by grammar and vocabulary. These two terms may be employed to help underline the basic parameters of converging consumption patterns within the set t i n g of the discourse that i s the food system and the more general discourse of l o c a l place. a. Grammatical Structures and Food Systems. The grammatical aspects of a discourse are broadly similar to those which are some times termed 'structure'. This grammar i s manifest i n the physical structure of the food system but i t s roots l i e deeper and are more abstract. The 'grammatical pattern' of a food system i s the r e s u l t of the interplay of numerous sub-sets of grammars. In t h i s sense, the c a p i t a l i s t 160 patterns of regulation of t h i s paper are one set of grammatical rules. There are others. These include, as examples, l o c a l e c o l o g i c a l factors, l o c a l business culture, and l o c a l taste preferences. I t i s the mix of these grammatical patterns that structures the food system. One can u t i l i z e the concept of grammar to represent the 'logic' of the food system. However th i s grammar i s not some 'super organic' e n t i t y which determines the shape of the resultant s i t u a t i o n . Grammar i s maintained and altered by i t s constant u t i l i z a t i o n by numerous 'knowing actors'. T r a d i t i o n a l l y the grammar (or the s t r u c t u r a l context) of food systems was t i g h t l y linked to l o c a l productive p o s s i b i l i t i e s . That i s , the lo g i c of the food system was lar g e l y derived from l o c a l e c o l o g i c a l forces (natural patterns of regulation) such as the carrying capacity of the land and seasonality. These parameters would be fused through l o c a l power rel a t i o n s and ideologies ( p o l i t i c a l and c u l t u r a l patterns of regulation) to r e s u l t i n l o c a l consumption patterns. However, with the coming of urbanization and i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n the dominance of l o c a l e c o l o g i c a l factors waned. The basis of t h i s decline was the widening geographical separation of food production and consumption. Paradoxically, as the po t e n t i a l for increased l o c a l agency developed another factor was emerging which would take the place of ecology i n 161 o u t l i n i n g the s t r u c t u r a l contexts of food a v a i l a b i l i t y . This new regulatory grammar was more subtle but no less important. It was based i n the process of exchange. Eventually, the grammar of the market has come to be etched by the ' i n v i s i b l e hand' of capitalism. I t i s the genius of the c a p i t a l i s t marketplace that through the 'free' action of exchange the system i s reproduced, i n f a c t driven, by 'free' agents making 'rat i o n a l ' choices. However, as t h i s paper emphasizes, consumers are not completely free agents. Though the process of 'exchange' allows for a seemingly wide range of selection, t h i s s e lection i s none-the-less constrained by the over-arching impact of the 'concrete abstraction' (Harvey 1985) of c a p i t a l i s t patterns of regulation which increasingly come to structure the entire food system. Thus, paraphrasing Poulantzas, one might say that there i s a 'rel a t i v e autonomy' of consumption potentials. Consumers, d i s t r i b u t o r s and producer/processors a l l employ agency, but increasingly t h i s agency needs to be seen as occurring i n the s t r u c t u r a l context of c a p i t a l i s t patterns of regulation. These patterns are not s o l e l y comprised by the intangible structure of the 'law of the market' (though the drive to accumulate i s t h e i r source). They may also be found i n the more tangible l o g i s t i c s of 'how things get done'. The 162 c a p i t a l i s t pattern of regulation i s manifest i n the systems of production and d i s t r i b u t i o n outlined i n t h i s paper. For example, the marketing 'science' of the f a s t food outlet or the convenience store express an adaptation to the parameters of the patterns of regulation of c a p i t a l i s t economics, but they also may carry those parameters through space (though, as the examples indicated, these 'systems' are often dependent on l o c a l s o c i a l support). They are a model of success within the broad patterns of regulation, and they are quite c l e a r l y outlined, having been honed by experience. When the l o c a l entrepreneur adopts these systems he or she not only f a c i l i t a t e s the d i s t r i b u t i o n of i n d u s t r i a l foodstuffs but in s t a n t i a t e s the r e a l i t y of the broader framework. Thus, the grammar of the food system need not be seen only as an intangible market force but i s also expressed i n the techniques and technologies which underlie the i n d u s t r i a l palate. However i t i s unwise to suggest that these learned systems are the key to the grammatical structure of the food system. This l i e s i n the imperative that capitalism brings to a given sector. The competitive nature of the c a p i t a l i s t pattern of regulation means that i n order to succeed one needs to adjust to 'the laws of the market' (i n balance with l o c a l v a r i a b l e s ) . People must adjust to the 'economics* of t h e i r decisions or be marginalized. As Wallerstein has written, the mark of capitalism as a system i s that i t rewards 163 accumulation per se, and tends to eliminate indivi d u a l s or groups who r e s i s t i t s l o g i c . (1984:27) Local agents i n the food system must increasingly make decisions within the frame of economic (i n the monetary sense) parameters. This fact was seen again and again i n the present study i n the actions of large transnationals, Chinese immigrant a g r i c u l t u r i s t s , l o c a l food r e t a i l e r s , restaurateurs and consumers. The grammar of c a p i t a l i s t patterns of regulation has come to impinge on i n d i v i d u a l choices more and more. The convergence process i s a r e f l e c t i o n of t h i s growing impact. Increasingly, c a p i t a l i s t market r a t i o n a l i t y , framed i n the context of a global market i s coming to dominate the grammar of the Hong Kong food system as discourse. Grammar provides a framework for, but does not define the nature and s p e c i f i c i t i e s of a discourse, t h i s i s generated i n  s i t u through d i f f e r i n g perceptions of the nature of the grammatical imperatives and through the agency of l o c a l s , including the agency of consumption. Local agency defines and reconstitutes the structure of the grammar and f i l l s i t with the texture of vocabulary. b. The Vocabulary of the Food System as Discourse. The u t i l i t y of the concept of vocabulary l i e s i n the way that i t covers the middle ground between structure and agency. In many ways i t expresses the manifestation of the interplay of 164 the structure of grammar and the agency of expression (in t h i s case the act of consumption). In the food sector one can conceive of the 'vocabulary' as being analogous to various foodstuffs within the food system. The most important feature of the discourse analogy for the goals of t h i s paper i s the nature of the s y n t a c t i c a l r e l a t i o n s h i p between grammar and vocabulary. c. The Syntactical Relationship Between Grammar and Vocabulary. The grammar provides the structure; the vocabulary provides the content ( i n t h i s case the foods produced, c i r c u l a t e d and consumed). There i s a close linkage between grammar and vocabulary (as well as economic structure and the goods a v a i l a b l e ) , yet neither d i r e c t l y determines the other. Within the general grammar of the c a p i t a l i s t world food market the actual c o n s t i t u t i o n ( i e . the s p e c i f i c goods available) i s not a given. Though i t i s often the case that the vocabulary of the global marketplace i s a r e f l e c t i o n of 'western input' t h i s i s not necessarily always the case. The examples of Raegae music and Nehru Jackets come to mind. In fa c t , the global vocabulary of i n d u s t r i a l foodstuffs i s p a r t i c u l a r l y e c l e c t i c i n i t s 'sourcing' of products. A t r i p down the a i s l e s of one's l o c a l 165 supermarket w i l l quickly confirm t h i s assertion. One i s beset by a v a r i e t y of frozen (Indian) samosas, packaged (Japanese) noodle-soups and a plethora of preprocessed (Mexican) taco delights. What i s of central relevance i s not simply the o r i g i n of foodstuffs (though t h i s i s important) but t h e i r generalized a c c e p t a b i l i t y and marketability, how well they can f i t the grammar of the world i n d u s t r i a l i z e d food system. The parameters of ' f i t ' include how e a s i l y a foodstuff can be processed (produced), transported (circulated) and thus marketed (consumed) throughout the global food system. The key to convergence l i e s not simply i n the s p e c i f i c types of food consumed, but how they come to be shaped and reshaped within the context and constraints of a world i n d u s t r i a l food system. Certain foodstuffs through h i s t o r i c a l contingency or planned development, ' f i t ' the grammatical structure of the world food system better than others. These goods express the texture of convergence but do not necessarily underlie i t . This i s one reason why t h i s analysis concentrated on the s t r u c t u r a l context of Hong Kong's changing food system. The surface appearance of the types of foods consumed i s important pr i m a r i l y i n terms of t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p and integration with the broader grammatical parameters of the i n d u s t r i a l palate. 166 These parameters are increasingly etched i n the stark, placeless r a t i o n a l i t y of the g l o b a l l y oriented c a p i t a l i s t pattern of regulation. 2. Discourse i n Place. The s p e c i f i c nature of the l o c a l s e t t i n g i s also of c r i t i c a l importance. This i s because foodstuffs (as vocabulary) must not only ' f i t ' the grammar of the food sector but must also be able to f i n d a niche i n the l o c a l s o c i a l formation as a whole. Indeed, i t i s i n the dominant s o c i a l patterns of regulation that the i n d i r e c t and d i r e c t routes to consumption changes outlined above meet. One can also use the discourse analogy at the more generalized and abstract l e v e l of the s o c i a l formation. Within a given s o c i a l formation the o v e r a l l grammar i s constituted by a number of i n t e r - l i n k e d grammars or patterns of regulation (e.g. ecology, tradition/ideology, p o l i t i c s or economics). Some of these tend to be generated l o c a l l y . These are often very place s p e c i f i c . Others are less d i s t i n c t l y linked to a given place, t h e i r roots are more disperse and/or distant. This l a t t e r grouping includes the generalized c a p i t a l i s t pattern of regulation. Indeed the success of capitalism as a s o c i a l system (Giddens 1984) l i e s i n i t s geographical 167 t r a n s f e r a b i l i t y (see Brookfieid 1975:26). Yet i t i s important to maintain that i t i s not capitalism as 'superorganic' e n t i t y that has come to span the globe. Rather, i t i s the increasing r e i f i c a t i o n of capitalism by numerous actors which 'instantiates' i t and brings the i n t e r n a l dynamics of a c a p i t a l i s t market place to bare on l o c a l place. There i s a momentum to t h i s trend, so that the more people act i n t h i s manner the more the structure seems r e a l , (this may be p a r t i c u l a r l y true i n Hong Kong where there i s a Chinese tendency to follow precedence i n economic matters -- Leeming 1979:7). The more i t becomes a primary mode of coming to terms with one's changing environment and thus i n in t e r a c t i n g with one's environment, the more i t e f f e c t s that environment. If one accepts that we a l l take part i n the construction of the s o c i a l whole (some much more than others) then the r e f l e x i v e impact of t h i s development becomes apparent. By acting i n the context of c a p i t a l i s t patterns of regulation people reshape the nature of t h e i r m i l i e u and thus themselves (Marx, C a p i t a l . Vol. 1 p.77, Cited i n Harvey 1982:102). The i r o n i c f a c t i s that although the 'world system' provides a context for the diminishment of place s p e c i f i c i t y as expressed i n the convergence of consumption practices, the 'decline of place' occurs i n s i t u . 168 In very broad terms one can view the convergence process as being i n d i c a t i v e of the increasing impingement of a more generalized, indeed globalized set of grammatical imperatives on l o c a l places. This perspective i s echoed by a number of writers (see as examples, Friedmann and Weaver 1979:168; Harvey 1983:3; Urry 1981:104; or R a f f e s t i n and Bresso 1979) However, as t h i s thesis has suggested, the decline of l o c a l regulatory patterns can not be seen as a l i n e a r progression. This i s because people do l i v e i n places and i n families where other parameters, one's not s o l e l y based on economic r a t i o n a l i t y , r come to the fore. In Hong Kong, experiencing as i t i s , an unprecedented l e v e l of i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n and s o c i a l change, the s o c i a l whole i s i n a period of extreme flu x . This does not mean that c a p i t a l i s t patterns of regulation w i l l continue i n a t e l e o l o g i c a l manner to wipe the slate of l o c a l place clean, leaving a tabula rasa, rather that i n the context of the present study, c a p i t a l i s t patterns of regulation are increasingly evident i n the emergence of the i n d u s t r i a l palate. Though i t i s not the sole determinant of i n d i v i d u a l action i n Hong Kong, i t seems to be playing an increasing role i n the structuring of the actions of i n d i v i d u a l producers, d i s t r i b u t o r s and consumers of foodstuffs i n Hong Kong. 1.69 At present as Hong Kong i s undergoing a rapid phase of s o c i a l change, the tendency has been for there to be an increasing i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n of the l o c a l d i e t , a mass-cuisine for the emergent p r o l e t a r i a t . This may not be the end of the road. For example, i n the West other forces are reacting to the homogenization of d i e t . This i s seen i n the boom i n food boutiques, ethnic foods, and public markets. Though these developments s t i l l occur i n the context of an over-arching c a p i t a l i s t ethos (for an excellent discussion of ethnic f a s t foods see Belasco 1987) they exemplify the importance of other, l o c a l variables i n the complex melange of taste and needs; choices and constraints that shape the decisions of i n d i v i d u a l consumers. Strong l o c a l biases w i l l continue to e f f e c t the vocabulary of available foodstuffs. For example, when Kentucky Fr i e d Chicken moved into the Hong Kong market i t enjoyed some i n i t i a l success. However, when they introduced the corporation's usual production techniques the type of f a t used was objectionable to l o c a l tastes. Within months Kentucky Fr i e d had l e f t the Hong Kong market. Thus, foodstuffs as vocabulary must also f i t l o c a l tastes. The discourse i s thus the r e s u l t of the i n t e r a c t i o n of the macro and the micro, the general and the s p e c i f i c , i n the uniqueness of each place. B. POLICY ISSUES. 170 The trends discussed to t h i s point demonstrate an increasing role for c a p i t a l i s t patterns of regulation i n the l o c a l m i l i e u . Below, I outline some of the more problematical re s u l t s of t h i s process. The question which arises i s how does one counter these tendencies. If one accepts that capitalism i s a system of regulation, then one needs to look for other patterns of regulation to counter the c a p i t a l i s t one. In some so c i e t i e s , the natural development of t h i s counterbalancing, can be seen i n explosive fundamentalist revolutions (notably Iran). This eventuality seems u n l i k e l y i n Hong Kong. The most fe a s i b l e approach would seem to be a p o l i t i c a l response. This i s not neccessarily to suggest an increase i n d i r e c t state regulation (an equally u n l i k e l y p r o b a b i l i t y i n ' l a i s s e z - f a i r e ' Hong Kong) but rather p o l i c i e s designed to b u i l d up the strength and vibrancy of the l o c a l small scale sector. I t i s neccessary to focus p o l i c y on the strengths of 'place', for i t i s i n place that the ' p o l i t i c a l ' counterbalance to c a p i t a l i s t patterns of regulation must aris e and does a r i s e . (Dunleavy 1980; Wallerstein 1984; Scott 1985; and C a s t e l l s 1983) 1. E f f e c t s on Poorer Consumers. The pervasiveness of the impact of the transformation of the food system i s a very important point. As the process of 171 c a p i t a l i z a t i o n and increasing a r t i c u l a t i o n with the global food system moves apace i t e f f e c t s a larger and larger share of the population. As c e r t a i n techniques or goods come to dominate (and shape) the market the number of other p o t e n t i a l options declines (e.g. the decline i n grocers). When one combines these s t r u c t u r a l developments with the power of advertising, image-marketing, and status emulation then the convergence process may impact groups who i n fact do not have the income to support the new mode of consumption. A food system based on c a p i t a l i s t patterns of regulation i s quite obviously not l i k e l y to be b e n e f i c i a l to those i n a society who do not have c a p i t a l . I t i s i n t h i s trend that one finds the most pressing problem r e s u l t i n g from convergence. The central p o l i c y issue concerning the increasing i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n and convergence of food consumption patterns i s how they come to e f f e c t the very poor. The a v a i l a b i l i t y of food types becomes circumscribed as the depth of penetration of the world i n d u s t r i a l food system grows. Cl e a r l y not a l l income groups are experiencing the increases i n income necessary to support the increased purchase of value-addition. In some so c i e t i e s t h i s group may i n fact form the majority. In Hong Kong at present the r e l a t i v e l y widespread benefits of growth have enabled much of the populace to experience the f r u i t s and the drawbacks of the i n d u s t r i a l palate. However, the 172 a l t e r a t i o n of the l o c a l food system may come to e f f e c t the range of available food choices to the more marginal members of a given society. These s h i f t s i n the l o c a l food system may have a negative e f f e c t on the food selection p o s s i b i l i t i e s of the poor of a given society who can not afford to purchase the high l e v e l of value-addition found i n i n d u s t r i a l foodstuffs. Of growing concern to a number of authors i s the deleterious health impacts of new foods (See Kaplinsky 1979; Behar 1976; Yaprak 1986; or Chetley 1986). The most high p r o f i l e topic i n t h i s area i s the 'baby food' issue. Through advertising and marketing techniques food TNC's (Nestle most notably) have f o i s t e d on to many Third World consumers the idea that 'west i s best'. Increasing consumption of these highly processed foods i n the context of low incomes has resulted i n disastrous health consequences. This i s because consumers can not afford to completely buy into the new consumption regime. They purchase inadequate l e v e l s to maintain health. This tendency most c l e a r l y indicates the s h i f t away from t r a d i t i o n a l c o s t - e f f e c t i v e , home, and healthy food. International regulation proved i n e f f e c t i v e i n addressing t h i s problem. The in t e r n a t i o n a l leviathon of the world market i s i n many ways unmanagable. The f i g h t against baby food substitutes had to occur i n s i t u , (in the core through consumer boycotts and i n the periphery through education campaigns and 173 l o c a l organization -- Chetley 1986) So too with the general case of increasing purchase of other i n d u s t r i a l foods of questionable n u t r i t i o n a l value and cost-effectiveness. Active l o c a l p o l i c y frameworks are needed to counterbalance the problem of inadequate consumption levels among the poor. However, as the Hong Kong study has indicated, the e f f i c i e n c y of c a p i t a l i s t d e l i v e r y mechanisms, i n the context of increasing income levels can 'deliver the goods*. The poor of Hong Kong have increased t h e i r consumption of healthy staples as well. The problem l i e s i n the s h i f t towards less healthy heavily processed foodstuffs. As I have argued, though the food system i s driven by the production sphere i t s nuances are the r e s u l t of consumption parameters. Thus, a key variable i s to counterbalance the dominance of advertising, and status emulation and introduce an ethos that emphasizes the importance of healthy alternatives. (as seems to be occurring i n the West). This must be done at the l o c a l l e v e l . The benefits of processing ( i . e . , less post-harvest food loss and economies of production, and advanced d i s t r i b u t i o n techniques (again the decline i n spoilage and a lowering of prices for packaged, processed foods) can greatly f a c i l i t a t e an improved d i e t for the poor. I t w i l l , however take 'pro'-active' p o l i c y decisions; ones set i n the framework of an understanding of the food system as a whole and emphasizing the ' l o c a l ' i n 174 the discourse between micro and macro trends to f u l l y reap the p o t e n t i a l benefits. 2. Other Pol i c y Issues. Other p o l i c y issues revolve around the employment ramifications of an increasingly c a p i t a l i z e d food system for regional small scale market farmers and l o c a l hawkers. Whereas western s o c i e t i e s saw an evolutionary change i n the employment structure of the food sector (except, perhaps.some might argue for 'the enclosure movement'), 'developing' s o c i e t i e s , t y p i f i e d by Hong Kong are undergoing a revolutionary change. I t i s d i f f i c u l t to gauge the trend i n the process of conservation/dissolution. Is one witnessing the collapse of the economically i n e f f i c i e n t (in n e o - c l a s s i c a l terms) but s o c i a l l y b e n e f i c i a l 'involutionary' d i s t r i b u t i o n systems? If so, do the benefits of more e f f i c i e n t food d i s t r i b u t i o n systems counterbalance the loss i n employment and l o c a l v i t a l i t y ? I t can be argued that they do not. The increasing impingement and market control of large scale d i s t r i b u t e r s may be more 'economically r a t i o n a l ' but i t can be how s o c i a l l y b e n e f i c i a l they are. This i s so for two reasons. F i r s t , the employment ramifications of t h i s trend are self-evident. Secondly, the growing market control of large scale c a p i t a l exemplifies a second trend which seems to accompany the process of 175 convergence i n open market, urban and g l o b a l l y a r t i c u l a t e d areas -- divergence, (on the convergence/divergence nexus see Armstrong and McGee 1985) In the Hong Kong case i t i s apparent that despite the growth i n the Fresh F r u i t and Vegtable sector, the lions share of the l o c a l food d i s t r i b u t i o n system i s increasingly controlled by the two biggest economic actors i n the c i t y : the 'hongs' of Jardine-Matheson and Hutchison-Whampao. Fewer actors are accumulating more of the wealth from the food system. Thus, the convergence process seems to be linked to divergence. The dissemination and homogenization of consumption patterns' i s mirrored by a concentration and accumulation of control and wealth i n the hands of a few. This i s perhaps not surprising as i t i s i n the nature of capitalism as a s o c i a l system that c a p i t a l accumulates. The s i t u a t i o n i n Hong Kong i s aggravated by the move of the hongs 'off-shore' to in t e r n a t i o n a l f i n a n c i a l centres (Jardine-Matheson i s moving i t s corporate headquarters to Bermuda). Thus, the growing impingement of c a p i t a l i s t patterns of regulation, expressed and f a c i l i t a t e d by changes i n the food system, may have very deep ramifications for what the french r e g u l a t i o n i s t s c a l l the 'regime of accumulation' (see L i p i e t z 1987). The convergence process at t h i s l e v e l supports global, concentrated accumulation not l o c a l d i f f u s e accumulation. This tendency needs to be countered. 176 The second issue, that of the impacts on the l o c a l small scale producer i s no less c r i t i c a l , but smaller i n scale ( i n the Hong Kong case). Throughout Asia there i s a divergence i n the desires of urban populations for the cheapest and/or often foreign foodstuffs and the needs of l o c a l producers of t r a d i t i o n a l foodstuffs. Local producers are caught i n a double bind. On the one hand they are increasingly immersed i n the cash nexus and facing the debts that seem to accompany modern food production techniques; on the other hand there i s a d e c l i n i n g market for t r a d i t i o n a l foods. There i s no easy answer to the question of the resolution of the competition between l o c a l producers and urban consumers e s p e c i a l l y i n a free market. To address the issue one needs to view the food system as a whole. In t h i s l i g h t , the c i r c u l a t i o n and production spheres are linked. Helping the urban s e l l e r s of regional food products ( i . e . , f r u i t s and vegitables) w i l l help the l o c a l producers. These people have found a niche i n the Hong Kong food space-economy. Government p o l i c y can greatly a s s i s t i n t h e i r v i a b i l i t y , and thus i n the v i a b i l i t y of the l o c a l goods they tend to s e l l , (see Bucklin 1986). 177 3. In Summation. The increasing impingement of g l o b a l l y oriented c a p i t a l i s t patterns of regulation i s a d i f f i c u l t force to r e s i s t . Today, i n Hong Kong, regional closure (Friedmann 1979) seems an increasingly unviable p o l i c y option. One can only hope to temper the impacts of increasing impingement. This needs to be done by enhancing the v i a b i l i t y of other patterns of regulation and the expressive capacity of l o c a l places i n the ongoing discourse over the nature and uniqueness of each community. B. THE HONG KONG CASE IN SUMMATION. This paper, through an examination of the Hong Kong case, has sought to make the process of modernizing food consumption patterns more i n t e l l i g i b l e (though not necessarily simpler). I t has t r i e d to maintain a perspective which allows for l o c a l contingency ( i n fact emphasizes i t ) but does not deny the fundamental nature of the basic trend of convergence. There i s then, a coherence to the complexity. In many ways the strength and depth of the process of converging food consumption patterns l i e i n i t s multi-valent and m u l t i - f o c a l nature. The convergence process i s a complex discourse, yet the discourse has a basic grammar. This grammar i s produced and reproduced by various agents acting within the constraints of a myriad of micro and macro-level settings and forces. 178 These forces and settings are fused into a complex but u n i f i e d ensemble. The basic rhythms and beat are increasingly shaped by c a p i t a l i s t market forces, but the i n t r i c a t e melody and textures are produced i n s i t u . In Hong Kong, l o c a l contingencies have i n some respects acted to support the trend to i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n of food s t u f f s (eg. the marketing acumen of l o c a l entrepreneurs), and i n other cases served to slow or a l t e r the process (eg. the p r e d i l e c t i o n for fresh l o c a l produce). Yet underlying the undoubted importance of l o c a l uniqueness i s the increasingly pervasive trend to the c a p i t a l i z a t i o n , i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n and i n t e r n a t i o n a l i z a t i o n of the food system and thus, ultimately the tendency to convergence. As t h i s thesis has demonstrated, the perceived changes i n consumption patterns have a number of sources. One can divide the process of changing consumption practices along the l i n e s of two broad generic types of forces which e f f e c t the consumption patterns of i n d i v i d u a l s . One might c a l l these d i v i s i o n s the 'direct' and 'i n d i r e c t ' routes to converging food consumption patterns. The i n d i r e c t route concerns the types of s o c i a l change which f a c i l i t a t e the incursion of i n d u s t r i a l i z e d food types. In some important ways the general nature of these trends - with l o c a l variations - tend to resemble those experienced i n ' i n d u s t r i a l i z e d ' countries. It i s not surprising then, that goods or techniques o r i g i n a t i n g i n 179 i n d u s t r i a l i z e d countries should f i n d a niche i n i n d u s t r i a l i z i n g ones. These t r a i t s were shown to be present i n Hong Kong. Inextricably a l l i e d with the i n d i r e c t route i s the 'direct route' towards convergence. This route i s much more concerned with the s t r u c t u r a l dynamics of the a r t i c u l a t i o n of global and l o c a l food systems. I t i s at the macro-level where one finds the main impetuses to standardization; and the formation of a 'world market', but i t i s at the l o c a l l e v e l where t h i s impetus i s r e a l i z e d . The d i r e c t route to convergence i s a r e s u l t of the competitive advantages and requisites of large scale enterprises and the ' r a t i o n a l i t y ' of food systems dominated by c a p i t a l i s t patterns of regulation. As demonstrated, large scale producers and d i s t r i b u t o r s can gain c e r t a i n advantages from scale (eg. a smaller margin per unit of sales) but require that consumers change t h e i r modes of consumption. This t r a i t was outlined through examples from the food manufacturing industry as well as i n the food r e t a i l i n g sector ( i . e . supermarkets). In t h i s thesis the concern was not s p e c i f i c a l l y with the generalizing tendencies i n the global food system, but rather with the meso-scale of i n t e r a c t i o n . The 'nuts and bolts' of i n t e r a c t i o n were outlined v i a a consideration of a number of 180 conduits ( i . e . imports, production, and r e t a i l ) . These conduits provide the framework for the d i r e c t route to convergence, and are the contexts for the more d i r e c t catalysts of change. This paper has shown how the nature of the l o c a l milieux, the economies and ecologies of d i f f e r e n t parts of the food system, and the i n t e r a c t i o n of t h i s evolving unity with the 'larger' l o g i c of the world food/economic system (e.g., through import competition, and the transfer of techniques and technologies) leads to a f a m i l i a r process -- convergence. The i n d i r e c t route provides the setting, but i t i s the d i r e c t routing which i s the most ac t i v a t i n g . Though the d i r e c t route does not determine what people w i l l eat i t heavily impacts available choices. At present the r e s u l t s of the dynamics outlined i n t h i s paper have resulted i n the emergence of a t r i p a r t i t e d i v i s i o n of trends i n food consumption. At one l e v e l there i s the increased consumption of staples among the poor. At another, there appears to be an increased propensity to 'eat-out', to consume food outside of the home. F i n a l l y , Hong Kong i s at present witnessing the growth i n consumption of a new and cosmopolitan mix of foodstuffs. These foods are more e x p l i c i t l y the fare of t h e . i n d u s t r i a l palate. Underlying a l l these trends are the increasing i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n and i n t e r n a t i o n a l i z a t i o n of the l o c a l food 181 system. In the context of increasing levels of c a p i t a l input, the 'grammatical' l o g i c of t h i s system i s increasingly coming to resemble that found i n the world food system as a whole. C i t i e s are p a r t i c u l a r l y auspicious centres for the penetration of the c a p i t a l i s t ethos. They are usually most c l o s e l y a r t i c u l a t e d with the 'world system,' they generally have a very monetized socio-economic structure and they provide the population base needed for (certain) productive and consumptive practices. Hong Kong with i t s 'open market' i s increasingly a paragon of these c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s . Hong Kong presents one with the p r o f i l e of a place where the very nature of the l o c a l discourse i s changing i n scale and i n content. Increasingly, due to i n t e r n a t i o n a l i z a t i o n , the l o c a l discourse i s being effected by the inputs of external actors and 'forces' ( i . e . the global food/economic system) These externally o r i g i n a t i n g dynamics shape but do not determine the content of the l o c a l discourse as expressed i n food consumption patterns. This occurs through i n t e r a c t i o n with a myriad of micro l e v e l forces and i s expressed i n the meso-level r e a l i t y of the Hong Kong food regime of today. As t h i s thesis has demonstrated, Hong Kong i s undergoing some fundamental changes i n the s t r u c t u r a l nature of i t s food system and the diets of the population. These changes are 182 characterized by an increasing l e v e l of c a p i t a l input into the d a i l y meal (from the r i c e f i e l d s to the kitchen). The r e s u l t of t h i s process, i n tandem with more widely based s o c i a l changes, i s r e f l e c t e d i n the i l l u s t r a t e d s h i f t s i n consumption. Hong Kong's food system and the consumption patterns i t embraces are indeed coming to mimic those found around the globe, thus, r e s u l t i n g i n , and r e f l e c t i n g the processes of convergence and the emergence of the i n d u s t r i a l palate i n Hong Kong. 183 Notes. 1/ The term 'patterns of regulation' i s used i n c o n t r a - d i s t i n c t i o n and acknowledgement of the French Regulationists' concept of 'modes of regulation' ( L i p i e t z 1987, 1986, 1984; A g l i e t t a 1979). Clearly, the thoughts expressed i n t h i s paper have some a f f i n i t y with the work of the french r e g u l a t i o n i s t s . They c o r r e c t l y view capitalism as a s o c i a l phenonmenon. (Agl i e t t a 1979:9; or c f . Meiskins Wood 1981:77) The c r i t i c a l feature of t h e i r approach i s the assertion of the importance of the reproductive nature of capitalism. By employing the concept of 'a p o s t i o r i ' functionalism they look at capitalism as a reproductive system. I t ex i s t s and expands because i t works, (to a point). The two key areas of the reproductive nature of capitalism as a s o c i a l system are what they term 'modes of regulation' and 'regimes of accumulation'. These headings are further divided into a number of sub-groupings and permutations (see L i p i e t z 1987:12-15 and 32-35). Modes of regulation are further divided into 'departments' or 'elements'. (see footnote 7, page 207, L i p i e t z 1987) These two groupings are the closest they come to what I have termed patterns of regulation. However, there i s an importance difference. They view these departments i n terms of the role i n the generalized regime of accumulation, not e x p l i c i t e l y as the contexts of i n d i v i d u a l action. They are 184 elements of a system not the frame of action. Their focus i s on the functional nature of a reproducing s o c i a l system known as capitalism. Despite the disclaimer of 'a >postiori' functionalism, the t o t a l i z i n g nature of t h e i r research focus has led them to present what i s i n the end a f u n c t i o n a l i s t viewpoint. Yet as they argue, t h i s i s not a c r i t i c a l flaw i n so far as one only accepts theory as a h e u r i s t i c device. They are not suggesting that the global economy i s run by a 'global maestro' (L i p i e t z 1986:17). Rather, that to come to terms with the evolution of the world c a p i t a l i s t system t h e i r approach adopts one perspective which helps i n understanding. In much the same way that t h i s paper has described the symbiosis of c a p i t a l accumulation and market dissemination, and the concept of patterns of regulation, the r e g u l a t i o n i s t s approach s o c i a l questions through examining a t o t a l i t y of i n t e r a c t i o n . Correctly placing emphasis on the production of s o c i a l assets and the d i s t r i b u t i o n of those assets. They also consider consumption to be key to the whole ediface of capitalism ( i n p a r t i c u l a r fordism). Their perspective overtly seeks to integrate the production and consumption spheres (see for example L i p i e t z 1987:30) However, the d r i v i n g force behind the model they develop i s c l e a r l y the productive sphere, more s p e c i f i c a l l y the key role played by productivity l e v e l s . 185 Secondly, though they view consumption parameters to be important i n the macro-level of mass consumption, they f a i l to address the more micro-level issues, dynamics and tendencies which are so c r i t i c a l to the whole process of changing consumption patterns. Though the framework developed by t h i s school seems, at least i n t u i t i v e l y useful for the t h i s papers purpose and approach, i t i s not used e x p l i c i t e l y for a number of reasons. F i r s t , the subtle i f vague concept of patterns of regulation came out of the research before the author became f u l l y aware of the r e g u l a t i o n i s t s ' agenda. They are simply a way of coming to an understanding of the process of s o c i a l change i n general and i n Hong Kong i n p a r t i c u l a r . Patterns of regulation are a useful h e u r i s t i c device. Modes of regulation on the other hand are part of a d i f f e r e n t explanatory framework addressing a d i f f e r e n t issue. The re g u l a t i o n i s t s would support t h i s argument (L i p i e t z 1987:5), theory i s only useful i n so-far as i t helps one to understand s p e c i f i c instances. Their research focus i s primarily concerned with the dynamics of global productive sphere and i t s evolution. Their framework, i s useful i n that regard, t h i s paper addresses a d i f f e r e n t question. The strength of t h e i r perspective l i e s i n the view that capitalism i s a s o c i a l phenomenon, one of many, and i n t h e i r 186 emphasis on the patterning and order with which so c i e t i e s reproduce themselves. Left at that, t h e i r perspective i s a good foundation for thinking about place. The French Regulationists have developed an explanatory super-structure, with each piece having i t s place i n the whole. As I do not want to buy into the whole of t h i s structure for reasons outlined above, i t seems unwise to appropriate a part of t h e i r language. Further, the goal of t h i s paper i s to come to a geographical appreciation of a p a r t i c u l a r place not to prove or disprove the l a t e s t theory i n vouge. I t was f e l t that to u t i l i z e the whole of t h e i r perspective too much time and e f f o r t would have been spent on discussing the t h e o r e t i c a l ramifications of the myriad complex of forces, actors and t r a d i t i o n s that make the dietary pattern i n Hong Kong what i t i s today, rather than the trends themselves. Thus, the paper would have become about the theory rather than the geographical analysis of changing food consumption patterns i n Hong Kong. 2/ There i s a voluminous anthropological l i t e r a t u r e on food. Generally, t h i s sub-discipline i s c a l l e d Gastronomy. I t can be divided into two types. One genre emphasizes the s o c i o - c u i t u r a i context of food choice (Jerome et a l . 1980; G i f f t et a l . 1972; Freedman, R. 1976). Another looks at the expressive nature of food consumption (Douglas 1974; Mead 1970, 1964). There i s a very suprising lack of work, that integrates 187 these approaches into the economic r e a l i t i e s of food consumption, c i r c u l a t i o n and d i s t r i b u t i o n . A p a r t i a l exception to t h i s assertion i s the work of Harris (1987) and Ross (1987, 1980) who adopt a m a t e r i a l i s t approach. Almost a l l of the Anthropological l i t e r a t u r e on food habits tends to focus on s t a t i c dietary patterns, i f change i s considered i t i s usually addressed i n a very issue s p e c i f i c manner. 3/ The term 'structure' i s used here i n a rather un-orthodox manner, c e r t a i n l y i n an unorthodox Marxian manner. Structure and agency are two sides of the same coin. That i s , agency and structure are a d u a l i t y not a dualism (Giddens 1984:182). Structure i s only manifest by i n d i v i d u a l action (see also for example C a s t e l l s 1983:XVI) Further, structure i s not a complete i s o t r o p i c surface. Human action i s ensconced i n numerous s o c i a l , i d e o l o g i c a l , economic, b i o l o g i c a l and emotional contexts. Action i s based on one's perseption of these structures (though imperfect knowledge of other s t r u c t u r a l imperatives of other agents and s o c i a l or physical systems may r e s u l t i n unintended consequences). Thus one has a wide range of pot e n t i a l outcomes as d i f f e r i n g perseptions of indiv i d u a l s and d i f f e r i n g sets of s t r u c t u r a l contexts overlap i n space (Giddens 1984:164). The only way to come to terms with t h i s complexity i s by examining the resultant r e a l i t y i n a given l o c a l e . In t h i s way one can allow 188 the resultant manifestations of i n d i v i d u a l actions i n s i t u to outline what seem to be the primary s t r u c t u r a l imperitives. 4/ This point i s of course only p a r t i a l l y v a l i d . C l e a r l y there i s a p o l i t i c a l side to the deep r e l a t i o n s h i p between state c o n t r o l l e d agriculture (at least u n t i l recently) i n the PRC and the Hong Kong food system. This i s the probable source of the low food prices charged Hong Kong by Chines a u t h o r i t i e s . However, unlike most developing s o c i e t i e s there i s not a d i r e c t p o l i t i c a l contest between the r u r a l producer and the urban consumer. The question i s rather more one of g e o - p o l i t i c s rather than national p o l i t i c s . 5/ This viewpoint, one which emphasizes the importance of knowing actors i s strongly a r t i c u l a t e d by Anthony Giddens (1984:22). He, and others (e.g., T h r i f t 1983, 1986) heavily emphasize the importance of ' p r a c t i c a l knowledge'. 6/ This point may seem to run counter to the argument that i t i s c a p i t a l i s t patterns of regultion which are at the base of the convergence process. Those patterns provide a framework for the process. I t i s , however, i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n which f a c i l i t a t e s the expansion of the i n d u s t r i a l palate and leads to the more tangible developments i n the food system. Further, the trend to i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n and the advancement of capitalism are t i g h t l y bound. 189 7/ I t i s a mistake to place too much emphasis on the i n t u i t i v e d i v i s i o n of agriculture and industry. T r a d i t i o n a l l y and presently the d i v i s i o n i s not that e x p l i c i t . Also i t seems important to c l a r i f y the d i s t i n c t i o n between food crops under-going i n d u s t r i a l processing and t r a d i t i o n a l i n d u s t r i a l crops such as s i s a l or rubber. The focus of t h i s discussion i s on the i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n of what are t r a d i t i o n a l l y food crops. 8/ These two processes act i n tandem. Increased c a p i t a l input into food products i s a r e s u l t of both the nature of c a p i t a l i s t production i n general ( i . e . the labour theory of value) and factors which are s p e c i f i c to food and which are la r g e l y market driven. The balance of these two sets of factors would seem to be an i n t e r s t i n g research question. The key feature of food i s i t s p e r i s h a b i l i t y , i t must undergo some processing to l a s t . Unlike non-perishables t h i s means that, i n general, some machinery must be employed to process a given foodstuff (e.g., Ovens, i r r a d i a t e r s ) . More importantly, as large scale producers are i n general unable to add value by small scale techniques of meeting multiple market niches, ( i r o n i c a l l y i t seems that advances i n the technologies of production may be making t h i s more possible) they need to do t h i s by enhancing t h e i r product for the mass market. These means that the economies of scale play an important r o l e . Because they produce for a mass-market, techniques of 190 mass-production are required. Further, the imparitive of value-addition drives the food sector more than most. This i s often achieved through i n d u s t r i a l processing, packaging and advertising. The drive behind these tendencies i s l a r g e l y the r e s u l t of market forces i n regards to the nature of food. 9/ Though post-modernism i s an increasingly popular approach i n s o c i a l geography and of late i n i n d u s t r i a l geography i t s widespread a p p l i c a b i l i t y seems highly suspect. F i r s t one needs to d i s t i n g u i s h between the post-modern approach to problem amalysis and the assertion of the emergence of a post-modern world (often conflated with p o s t - i n d u s t r i a l ) . The post modern approach i s i t s e l f a useful way of analysing s i t u a t i o n s . Indeed t h i s paper might be broadly categorized under that heading. However, there are some r e a l troubles with expanding t h i s viewpoint to assume that a l l people adopt such a perspective. For the vast majority of the people of the Third World who are either ensconced i n a p r e - i n d u s t r i a l context or an i n d u s t r i a l one t h e i r l i v e s are often only to stuctured by the imperitives of the pre-modern or what i s often worse the modern world. 10/ One should note that 'urban production' does account for a small part of the food supplies of Asian C i t i e s i n general and Hong Kong i n p a r t i c u l a r . (Yeung 1985b). However i n Hong Kong t h i s i s almost negligable l e v e l . Further there i s almost no 191 data on the subject, thus while i t i s obviously an important research question i t w i l l l a r g e l y be ommitted from t h i s analysis. 11/ There has also been a notable r i s e i n the amount of abandoned land. Abandoned land was the second largest a g r i c u l t u r a l land use i n 1979. (Wong 1983) The primary reasons for t h i s abandonment seem to l i e large l y i n the pressures exerted on peri-urban land by rapidly expanding urban areas, exaggerated i n Hong Kong by Government regulations (Yeung 1985b) and the development of the new towns ( S i t 1981). For the purposes of the present paper t h i s l e v e l of abandonment i s p a r t i c u l a r l y pertinent i n so far as i t highlights the increasing l e v e l of i n t e n s i f i c a t i o n on other lands. 12/ Unfortunately there i s s t i l l very l i m i t e d information on the dynamics and depth of the introduction of hydroponics i n the Hong Kong a g r i c u l t u r a l sector (eg. where the c a p i t a l i s coming from, who controls the means of production). Yet one can assert that the introduction of such 'high-tech' food production techniques i s l i k e l y to lead to an even more diminished role for l o c a l place s p e c i f i c i t i e s i n the future. 13/ The focus on the r e t a i l side of the food s d i s t r i b u t i o n system i s also a r e s u l t of a lack of l i t e r a t u r e on the topic. 192 What figures could be found suggest that the patterns i n the wholesale sector mirror those i n the r e t a i l sector. Of p a r t i c u l a r note i s the v a r i a b i l i t y i n concentration by product type. The most concentrated sectors are the i n t e r n a t i o n a l l y a r t i c u l a t e d ones ( i . e . confections and processed foodstuffs). (Hong Kong Survey of Wholesale R e t a i l and Import/Exort  Trades 1984). 14/ There are some r e a l questions as to whether the supermarket w i l l ever be able to match the freshness available from small scale producers. The shear volume of product that supermarkets move to some extent mitigates against t h e i r a b i l i t y to provide continous premium q u a l i t y produce. This fa c t has two notable repurcussions. F i r s t , i t acts as another drive to the increasing technological input into f r u i t and vegetable production. Secondly, i t may i n fact be the case that the supermarket i s simply incapable of succeeding i n the sale of produce to increasingly discriminating consumers. In Vancouver, the burgeoning growth of 'Produce City' outlets i n the context of the growth of 'super-stores', suggests that t h i s may i n f act be the case. 15/ The l i m i t s of the expenditure p r o f i l e data, e s p e c i a l l y over time are of more than technical i n t e r e s t . Beyond the usual problems of sampling v a l i d i t y and r e l i a b i l i t y endemic to s t a t i s t i c a l work (especially i n a developing country), there 193 are a some concerns s p e c i f i c to the Hong Kong data base. For example, one needs to be wary of overemphasis of the 1964/65 data. This survey had only a 36% response rate. Secondly, the food group c l a s s i f i c a t i o n s used are not c l e a r l y delineated nor in c l u s i v e of a l l food types. 16/ I t appears that the Hong Kong expenditure surveys were not designed with longitudinal comparability i n mind. There i s no coherent, continous system of grouping expenditure cohorts (even the range v a r i e s ) . Nor i s there any available information on tracking expenditure groups over time. When these drawbacks are set i n the contexts of d i f f e r e n t i a l i n f l a t i o n and s o c i a l change one needs to exercize extreme caution i n analysing expenditure cohorts' changing consumption patterns. 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