What's Wrong with Supermarkets?

Front Cover

£2.50 / Free Download / A5 / 39 pages / April 2004 (revised)

What's Wrong With Supermarkets?

Strip lights, endless queues of strangers and shelves of packets, fake smiles from bored checkout assistants - Isn't there a better way to get our food?

Supermarkets wield immense power over the way we grow, buy and eat our food. They are shaping our environment, our health and the way we interact socially. These changes have gone unchallenged because consumers have been sucked into superstore lifestyles, persuaded that the opportunity to select from six different brands of cut-price oven chips at three in the morning represents choice and value.

But the tide may be turning. Unease at the true cost of supermarket food is spreading among consumers, who are beginning to join forces with the farmers and workers who have always know that supermarket 'choice' is a bad deal. This booklet aims to help campaigners get to grips with the reality of supermarket domination and argues why we must start looking for alternatives.


  1. Overview: Supermarkets sweep up
  2. The Cheap Food 'Mantra' - Stack it high! Sell it low!
  3. Encouraging industrial agriculture and destroying small farms world-wide
  4. A spoonful of organo-phosphates - Dangerous chemical usage in food & farming
  5. Bye-bye High Street - The destruction of communities and jobs
  6. Apples from Africa and pears from Peru - Food miles and climate change
  7. Oiling the trolley wheels - Undue influence on government
  8. Redefining 'safe' - The manipulation of health and safety requirements
  9. The plastic smile - Shop and farm workers rights
  10. 'Rip-Off Britain' - The Competition Commission enquiry
  11. 'Mummy, mummy, can we buy the Barbie spaghetti shapes?' - promoting unhealthy processed food
  12. Choice? Convenience? Value?
  13. And for dessert... What can you do about it?
  14. Resources