CGGC has been involved in groundbreaking research on global health issues, including how food and trade affect healthy diets. In the summer of 2007 researchers at CGGC were contacted by representatives of McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, the National Institute of Health (NIH), and the World Health Organization (WHO) to participate in a series of conferences beginning in fall 2007 that would highlight new approaches to studying childhood obesity. Researchers at CGGC were specifically asked by organizers of the McGill Health Challenge and the WHO Early-Stage Expert Meeting on Trade and Healthy Diets to write a framework paper that would outline how researchers should address the multi levels of analysis which are needed to capture the various determinants of childhood obesity.
In this framework paper, “Trade, Transnational Corporations and Food Consumption: A Global Value Chain Approach,” CGGC researchers Gary Gereffi, Joonkoo Lee and Michelle Christian described how the global value chains framework is a useful analytic tool to understand how international economic processes, particularly the role of transnational corporations, impact the structural conditions. These conditions make certain types of food available that can potentially impact childhood obesity rates in both developed and developing countries. Christian and Gereffi also contributed a chapter on “The Marketing and Distribution of Fast Food” in Michael Freemark’s edited book on Pediatric Obesity (2010)
Global value chains and agrifood standards: Challenges and possibilities for smallholders in developing countriesThe rise of private food standards has brought forth an ongoing debate about whether they work as a barrier for smallholders and hinder poverty reduction in developing countries. This paper uses a global value chain approach to explain the relationship between value chain structure and agrifood safety and quality standards and to discuss the challenges and possibilities this entails for the upgrading of smallholders. It maps four potential value chain scenarios depending on the degree of concentration in the markets for agrifood supply (farmers and manufacturers) and demand (supermarkets and other food retailers) and discusses the impact of lead firms and key intermediaries on smallholders in different chain situations. Each scenario is illustrated with case examples. Theoretical and policy issues are discussed, along with proposals for future research in terms of industry structure, private governance, and sustainable value chains.
Agricultural Value Chains in the Mexicali Valley of MexicoThis study identifies the producers and buyers of the major crops grown in the Mexicali Valley – cotton, wheat, alfalfa, asparagus, and green onions. The report also reviews the public commitments made by these economic actors to sustainable environmental practices in their corporate sustainability reports.
The Marketing and Distribution of Fast FoodThis chapter seeks to advance the multilevel approach to studying childhood obesity by focusing on the "macro" level of corporations in the global economy. We use a global value chains (GVC) framework to explain how the structure of food and agricultural value chains, with an emphasis on the fast-food segment, affects individual consumption choices.
Trade, Transnational Corporations and Food Consumption: A GVC ApproachThis paper explores the connections between the spread of obesity, especially in developing countries, and the interrelated expansion of trade, foreign direct investment, and transnational corporations (TNCs). The authors outline how the main concepts and methods of global value chains analysis can be applied to identify the direct and indirect linkages between the global economic processes of trade, foreign and direct investment, and food consumption.
U.S.-Based Food and Agriculture Value Chains and their Relevance to Healthy DietsThis paper outlines the global value chains (GVCs) of the chicken and tomato industries, showing how these industries have changed over time, who is driving that change, and how different segments of the value chain affect healthy diets and impact low-income populations. The authors specifically address how the lead firms in the global value chains of the chicken and tomato industries are a part of the processed food revolution and how this potentially impacts low-income communities.
A Global Value Chains Approach to Food, Healthy Diets, and Childhood ObesityA challenge associated with the nutrition transition in developing countries (i.e.,simultaneous presence of over-nutrition and under-nutrition, both being most prevalent in the poorest population segments) is the integration of their markets into the global economy. This integration determined rapid and strong changes in the production and trade of agricultural goods in the developing countries as well as growing foreign direct investments in food processing and retailing, and the expansion of food advertisements with obvious implications for dietary patterns and the risk of obesity.