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Local, Regional and Global Networks of Aldi's Infrastructure: Resilience and Sustainability

1795 words (7 pages) Business Assignment

1st Dec 2020 Business Assignment Reference this

Tags: Business AssignmentsInternational Business

Proposal Question

Trace the local, regional and global networks for a particular type of food infrastructure (e.g. supermarket, community market, food box distribution) and identify the key issues that enhance or reduce its resilience and sustainability.

Research aim and rationale

Our group's research topic is about examining the local, regional and global sourcing of produce at a modern Aldi supermarket. Identify the key issues that enhance or reduce its resilience and sustainability. And try to answer questions like what is the link between the location of Aldi's supermarket and the origin of Aldi's food products? To what extent does Aldi's choice of suppliers enhance or reduce its resilience and sustainability?

I believe this is a question worth digging because reducing food poverty by increasing agricultural sustainability in developing countries is a hot issue in the past decades (Pretty, J.N., Morison, J.I. and Hine, R.E., 2003). It is essential to note the world around us and see what the structures, running plans, leftover disposing supermarket in our country is going with, such that we will be able to see the possibilities of better ways of solving these global issues. By hypothesis, we will be looking at a high percentage of foreign goods that Aldi is selling, since this is a company based in Europe, we should see lots of imported goods. We are interested in how does this affect the local and its origin country's economy, and whether it does any good to the sustainability and development of these countries.

Background

The world still faces persistent food security challenges. An estimated 790 million people lack adequate food, 31%of them in the east and southeast Asia31% in South Asia, 25% in Sub-Saharan Africa, 8% in Latin America and the Caribbean, and 5% in North Africa and near east  (Pretty, J.N., Morison, J.I. and Hine, R.E., 2003). We see that while sustainability is a significant problem of the current world, but more importantly, it is hard for some undeveloped or developing countries to even solve hunger. The current global agricultural system produces enough food to feed the planet, but access to and consumption of culturally acceptable, affordable and nutritious food in abundance is yet to be reached (Johnston, J.L., Fanzo, J.C. and Cogill, B., 2014).

Last winter I did China Field Class, a subject that was offered from the University of Melbourne, and I think that a lot of the topics that food relates to is pertaining to our problem of food infrastructure in supermarkets in Melbourne. Because China as a developing country actually has gone through undeveloped, developing, and developed in some areas in the country, this has a lot to do with how they managed their food, who is involved, what policy was carried. China's increasingly urbanised and affluent population is driving growing and changing demand for food that may not be met without significant increases in agricultural productivity and sustainable use of natural resources (Lu, Y., Jenkins, A., Ferrier, R.C., Bailey, M., Gordon, I.J., Song, S., Huang, J., Jia, S., Zhang, F., Liu, X. and Feng, Z., 2015). Urbanisation is an irreversible trend in China in the coming decades, and food security is the foundation of China's economic development and social stability. Although at present the country food security level is higher, but the rigid impact of population growth and demand growth, food supply and demand gap, especially the structural demand gap widening, plus food production elements to urban concentration, and the problems existing in the grain circulation and grain reserves, and food security in the country still faces considerable pressure. At the same time, urbanisation is also advancing, promoting economic growth and social progress, and achieving remarkable development results. However, it also brings some economic and social problems, and further highlights the scarcity of resources and elements (Sanders, R., 2006).

Urbanisation will affect food security from two aspects: food demand and food supply. The increase of urbanisation level will reduce the need for grain ration quantity but will require a higher grain ration structure.  At the same time, urbanisation will also have an impact on food supply (Sanders, R., 2006). The attraction of cities to high-quality rural labour force leads to the relatively low quality of agricultural left-behind labour force. But the development of the urban economy also provides more funds to import ethnic cuisine and relieve the pressure of resources and environment on domestic food production. Industrialisation also makes the food emergency reserve system better equipped and more abundant (Lu, Y., Jenkins, A., Ferrier, R.C., Bailey, M., Gordon, I.J., Song, S., Huang, J., Jia, S., Zhang, F., Liu, X. and Feng, Z., 2015). The impact of food security on urbanisation is multifaceted. The increase of grain output has high requirements on the quantity of rural arable land, the amount of agricultural labour force and the quality of the labour force. These factors will restrict the development of urbanisation process and the improvement of the urbanisation level (Sanders, R., 2006). Aldi as an example imported a lot of products from all around the world, and some are packaged and sold directly, some are processed and outputted with their branding.

It is known that just like corn, rice is being used widely in all parts of the food industry, Aldi may depend mostly on the rice production in China, and if China couldn't export rice at a specified price then Aldi will proceed to change their product line or even face industrial transformation (Dowling, N.G., Greenfield, S.M. and Fischer, K.S. eds., 1998). Higher food security level puts forward higher requirements for urban food circulation system and urban food emergency system, which will promote the development of food circulation industry modernisation. It is found that there is an interactive relationship between urbanisation and food security (Dowling, N.G., Greenfield, S.M. and Fischer, K.S. eds., 1998). After all, we are looking to investigate how does food security, sustainability and international trades for food would have an impact on supermarkets like Aldi.

Methods

We decided to research with two methods: Quantitative and Qualitative.

Quantitative:

We will be studying the source of products from a larger scale, using Data and mapping to see where Aldi stores are located and spread in Melbourne/Victoria areas. And we will also count the number of food of our choice in each store that we have visited, and recording each food’s origin, price, quality, etc. and that will be done by doing some statistic modelling by R or excels.

Qualitative:

There will be surveys and interviews with Aldi’s manager and casual staff/customers. Questions could be like: Does Aldi donate meals to a Foodbank, OzHarvest, SecondBite? Do you recycle your waste? How does Aldi manage their waste? Is Aldi associated with a charity? What charity? We will also do some research by only observations: look at aisles and products. Lastly, we will be looking at online studies such as literature, Aldi website, journal articles, etc. to confirm or deny our proposed hypothesis.

While doing our research, we will try to aim our “methods” to match the question that we first started with. In the end, we will also consider whether our research from these two angles of the quantitative and qualitative points match. I will be responsible for doing interviews along with other group members, and I will be recording the process with necessary equipment such as a camera, microphone, tripod, lights, etc. Later on, I might also join the quantitative path to search for some data available on the internet and apply statistic methods to analyse the possible outcomes as I have done some statistic subjects in the past semesters and would be happy to use these techniques in real-life problems. After all, our methods should be well rounded and flexible as both the “science” and “human” geography sides are covered.

Timetable

Week 6

Consult with Lesley about research

Week 7

Field work - interviews and surveys

Week 8

Observations

Week 9

Gather and compile data

Week 10

Data analysis, report writing

Week 11

Report writing

Week 12

Presentation

We will be spending most of our times on the fieldwork to do interviews and surveys of the local Aldi stores, and if we find it time-consuming, then we will try to manage and do more interview in week eight and nine if needed. We have allocated different part of the work to be done by different people of our group so that everyone has something to work with. And we will prepare our presentation together.

References

  • Dowling, N.G., Greenfield, S.M. and Fischer, K.S. eds., 1998. Sustainability of rice in the global food system. Int. Rice Res. Inst..
  • Johnston, J.L., Fanzo, J.C. and Cogill, B., 2014. Understanding sustainable diets: a descriptive analysis of the determinants and processes that influence diets and their impact on health, food security, and environmental sustainability. Advances in nutrition, 5(4), pp.418-429.
  • Lu, Y., Jenkins, A., Ferrier, R.C., Bailey, M., Gordon, I.J., Song, S., Huang, J., Jia, S., Zhang, F., Liu, X. and Feng, Z., 2015. Addressing China’s grand challenge of achieving food security while ensuring environmental sustainability. Science Advances, 1(1), p.e1400039.
  • Pretty, J.N., Morison, J.I. and Hine, R.E., 2003. Reducing food poverty by increasing agricultural sustainability in developing countries. Agriculture, ecosystems & environment, 95(1), pp.217-234.
  • Sanders, R., 2006. A market road to sustainable agriculture? Ecological agriculture, green food and organic agriculture in China. Development and Change, 37(1), pp.201-226.

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