For hard-nosed investors, according to a leading investment analyst, the primary determinant of the structure of the food industry, or any other industry, is the legal framework within which it operates. This

varies from country to country, of course. The USA and Europe, for example, have historically had very different legal frameworks with different planning laws. In the USA there is an absence of strict planning legislation which

Laws, rules, regulations and the relatedenforcement mechanisms constrain thebehaviour of the actors in the food system. Such laws are normally designed, in democratic societies, to protect individuals in society from the unfettered exercise of power by one set of actors and to protect law-abiding traders. These laws are human creations, however, and they result from the interplay of all the actors in society, not just those in the food system. Those with the power to make laws design them to implement particular policies and to serve particular interests. Those who are adversely affected by them can obey them, try to get round them, try to change them or ignore them.