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The Rapid Rise of Supermarkets in Latin America: Challenges and Opportunities for Development

The Rapid Rise of Supermarkets in Latin America: Challenges and Opportunities for Development Why are we writing, in the same article, about ‘supermarkets’ and ‘development’ in a region where 39% of the people are in poverty and 13% in absolute poverty (Echeverría, 1998)? Are not supermarkets niche players for rich consumers in the capital cities of the region? The answer is ‘no’; that traditional image is now a distant memory of the preliberalisation period before the 1990s. This theme issue of Development Policy Review shows that supermarkets are now dominant players in most of the agrifood economy of Latin America, having moved from a rough-estimate population-weighted average of 10-20% in 1990 to 50-60% of the retail sector in 2000. In one globalising decade, Latin American retailing made the change which took the US retail sector 50 years. The supermarkets, together with large-scale food manufacturers, have deeply transformed agrifood markets in the region. Many of those changes spell great challenges – even exclusion – for small farms and processing and distribution firms, but also potentially great opportunities. Development policy and programmes need to adapt to this radical change. The above findings are derived from the articles in this theme issue, the key points of which are compared in this overview article, and http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Development Policy Review Wiley

The Rapid Rise of Supermarkets in Latin America: Challenges and Opportunities for Development

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References (15)

Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Overseas Development Institute, 2002
ISSN
0950-6764
eISSN
1467-7679
DOI
10.1111/1467-7679.00178
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Why are we writing, in the same article, about ‘supermarkets’ and ‘development’ in a region where 39% of the people are in poverty and 13% in absolute poverty (Echeverría, 1998)? Are not supermarkets niche players for rich consumers in the capital cities of the region? The answer is ‘no’; that traditional image is now a distant memory of the preliberalisation period before the 1990s. This theme issue of Development Policy Review shows that supermarkets are now dominant players in most of the agrifood economy of Latin America, having moved from a rough-estimate population-weighted average of 10-20% in 1990 to 50-60% of the retail sector in 2000. In one globalising decade, Latin American retailing made the change which took the US retail sector 50 years. The supermarkets, together with large-scale food manufacturers, have deeply transformed agrifood markets in the region. Many of those changes spell great challenges – even exclusion – for small farms and processing and distribution firms, but also potentially great opportunities. Development policy and programmes need to adapt to this radical change. The above findings are derived from the articles in this theme issue, the key points of which are compared in this overview article, and

Journal

Development Policy ReviewWiley

Published: Sep 1, 2002

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