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The Broad Penetration of Processed Foods in Rural and Urban Africa and Asia: The Rise of Processed F

Thomas Reardon, Professor Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics, Michigan State University

So, did you know the department hosts seminars at least once a week during the semester? There are three different seminars:

-Agricultural and Applied Economics

-Environmental and Resource Economics

-Trade and Development

These seminars are geared mostly towards faculty, staff and grad students, but if you're majoring in ApEc or AFBM, honestly, this is good stuff. Most of it was above my head, but it left me with possible future research interests, good questions that I honestly hadn't considered and, BONUS, a couple of my professors saw me there and I'm preeeetty sure it scored me some extra kudos. It showed initiative, which is an impression that can certainly never hurt anything.

I chose to attend the one by Tom Reardon, and like I said, it was a bit above my head but my brief summary is below.

Over the past 10-15 years, there has been a boom in production and consumption of processed food among lower and middle class citizens within rural and urban communities in Africa and Asia. This increase has been facilitated through value chain development, a demand change in diet preferences, and farm capital-led intensification and commercialization.

In this context, processed food can be defined as already milled, ground, baked, or cooked food. An easy way to grasp this concept is to think of pre-made and frosted cake as a high processed good, while milled wheat would be low processed.

Professor Reardon has conducted research on this topic for more than 20 years and did a wonderful job summarizing the main findings in only an hour and a half. Please come and join ApEc at future seminars!

University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences,
Department of Applied Economics
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