Month: June, 2014


Mmmmmm, delicious!

Gary Helou, the boss of Australia’s biggest dairy company, spoke out enthusiastically and confidently about the food processing industry. Claiming that now is a great time to invest, Helou spoke about the impeding high demand Asia will soon have for food imports and the excellent reputation Australia holds for producing high quality foods. But who exactly will benefit from the industry in his eyes? Recognizing that Australia has the 6th highest labor cost in the world, Helou advises ”We are high cost, but you build around that. You automate. You take that factor into your design calculus. You don’t design heavy manualised operating plants.” So this advice, although initially sounding as though the industry will bring good things, reveals the truth that the food industry is, in fact, being hijacked. Wealthy investors with enough capital to have robots produce the food will ensure that maximum profits go to minimal pockets. Because automation generally leads to cheaper products, our farmers will likely be unable to compete and have to close down. In the long run, we could see cheap low quality food replacing high quality food on our shelves. And remembering that corporations rarely take the healthy and well being of their customers into consideration, this could spell dark times ahead. Unless you’re investing all your money in food production that is.


Food For Thought

I’m going to focus my next few blog entries on a topic which affects and involves every single person in our country, food. The way food production has developed over the last few decades has seen big business swoop in to capitalise on this most fundamental of basic needs. Everybody needs food and therefore, if you can control the supply, you stand to make a huge amount of profit. Alongside the demand for food increasing (Australia’s population having almost doubled in the last 50 years), the technology used to produce our food has also seen rapid development. These days the food manufacturing industry is shifting evermore to automated methods with local farmers getting elbowed out of the way in preference of cheaper mechanized systems. In the last few years alone we’ve seen both McCains and Simplot suffering with job losses being either inevitable or a looming disaster. So what does this mean for the average person? Well, as food production is automated, jobs in this sector are going to be reduced. As food production employs a substantial portion of mostly unskilled workers, those workers are going to have to find work elsewhere. In my next post I’ll talk about the knock on health effects of this shift towards food automation. The Food Industry