Multi-dimensional dynamics and spatial connections in food retail markets in Thailand

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The diffusion of global retailers and the introduction of ‘modern’ channels of distribution and sourcing, combined with affluent domestic demand for higher-quality fresh produce, have caused significant transformations in food retail systems in the Global South. This paper examines Thai food systems undergoing transformation by drawing on qualitative interviews with key stakeholders along selected agri-food value chains in Chiang Mai and Bangkok. Through an analysis of the spaces of interaction in ‘traditional’ and supermarket-driven food-retail value chains, the paper shows that similar food safety and quality requirements are transmitted upstream in both ‘types’ of chain. The paper argues that supermarket-driven agri-food value chains do not evolve or operate separately from ‘traditional’ ones. Distantly located urban wholesale traders and modern food-retail outlets are dependent on and interconnected with similar traders located in villages and towns in rural areas, who perform a pivotal role in product differentiation and in coordinating and monitoring compliance with requirements. The paper ends by discussing how spatial connections in agri-food value chains influence local development patterns in distant but interconnected localities.
Original languageEnglish
JournalGeografiska Annaler. Series B. Human Geography
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)40-60
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 2020

ID: 234999255