ABSTRACT

For most of human history, food has been consumed at or near its location of production. Early hunters and gatherers, for example, were dependent on food sources within their tribal territories, while even today most of the food produced globally is consumed within the country of origin. Nevertheless, as trade relations between societies developed, so the bartering and then commercial trading of food increased in significance, as exemplified historically by the fifteenth to seventeenth century spice trade between Asia and Europe and the nineteenth century supply of agricultural raw materials to European states by their overseas colonies. In recent times the internationally traded component of national and regional food supplies has again been increasing under a process termed ‘the globalization of food’ (see Chapter 4).