1st Edition

The Consuming Geographies of Food Diet, Food Deserts and Obesity

By Hillary J. Shaw Copyright 2014
    210 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    210 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

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    The consumption and distribution of food, as well as its production, has become a major public policy issue over the past few decades; what we eat is no longer merely a private matter but carries significant externalities for wider society.  Its increasing significance within the public arena implies a dissonance regarding the boundaries of food; where do we draw the line between food as private and food as public?  What are the rights of society to impinge upon individual food consumption, and what conflicts will ensue when this boundary is disputed? 

    The Consuming Geographies of Food explores these multiple issues of food across different regions of the world from the consumer’s perspective.  It uniquely explicates the factors that lead customers towards certain typologies of consumption and towards certain types of retailing, offering a comprehensive review of the obesity problem, the phenomenon of food deserts and the issue of exclusion from a healthy diet. It then considers the effects of food on the consumer, the dynamic relationship between food and people, and the issue of food exclusion before concluding with possible futures for food consumption, from low-technology projects to high-technology scenarios. 
    Based on original research into food access, ethics and consumption in both developed and less-developed countries this book will be of interest to students, researchers and academics in the fields of geography, economics, hospitality health, marketing, nutrition and sociology.


    1. Introduction: harvesting obesity 2. You are what you eat: the biochemistry of food 3. Minding your diet: the psychology of food 4. What do we mean by ‘food’: the philosophies of food 5. Grosser grocers and cornered shops: changing access to food 6. Mapping food access and obesity: the food desert phenomenon 7. Getting back into shape: initiatives for tackling obesity 8. Future food consumption: a slimmed-down world?


    Hillary J. Shaw is a Senior Research Fellow at the London School of Commerce and Managing Director of Shaw Food Solutions. His research interests include food security, sustainable development and food access. As well as leading a range of consultancy projects, he has been invited to speak at many international conferences and has published widely in the areas of food, health, diet and corporate social responsibility.

    The book reviews diets, marketing, and the cultural aspects of food and also evaluates commercial and government policies on a global scale. It provokes the realization that with the increased technological processing of food, the impact on the consumer must be further reviewed. A valuable read for a wide audience.Summing Up: Highly recommended.-R. A. Hoots, Sacramento City College, CHOICE Review December 2014