Thursday, March 29, 2007

Consumer Stories

Consumer Stories (from last Thursday's lesson...)

Premier Foods are a large company who are taking decisions about their operations which are aimed at saving money, but which have an impact on the possible FUTURES of the 245 employees at King's Lynn. This also puts the future of the iconic CAMPBELLS tower, which I went past on the train today, in doubt.

We discussed 4 ideas for FUTURES and make sure that you go to the relevant page of GeographyPages to download the document.

We talked about FATALISM – well done to Matthew for recognising this one possible future.

Also I mentioned that I was personally a fan of the river future. We have some influence, but not a total control…

We then looked at the story of Campbells and the story of the tower which is a real landmark of MY PLACE. We identified some other buildings that we associate with the town: the grain silo at the docks, COWA, KES’s cupola and St. Margaret’s Church towers and St. Nicholas’ spire.

Well done to Brent for identifying Andy Warhol as being associated with Campbells.

I was talking about the COCA COLA issue today and the growth of McDonalds: the role of Ray Kroc and the franchising of the restaurant.

I mentioned a story about the role of Coca Cola as a global brand and an icon and the possible secret ingredient.

I found the story I was referring to in the lesson. Bolivian farmers are, according to the article in The Guardian on Saturday the 17th of March trying to get the company to change its name. Coca Cola denies using cocaine being used in the drink at any time.

Another story about consumption recently was a story about how, although supermarkets are trying to persuade us to recycle bags and are paying Noel Edmonds and some ‘celebrities’ loads of cash to get us to do this, but if you order online they apparently deliver them in lots of different carrier bags.


  • Supermarkets have signed up to a Government voluntary code of practice which aims to see retailers reduce usage by 25% by 2008
  • Tesco hands out around 4 billion carrier bags a year
  • UK consumers get through around 10 billion bags a year in total: around 167 per person !
  • Often the alternatives are not offered or available – the National Consumer Council suggested they should be using their Bags for Life.

Supermarkets explained that it was important to keep different items such as frozen and fresh meats separate and also to separate items such as cleaning products. All fairly common sense.

More on carrier bags when we start the PEOPLE AS CONSUMERS unit. Some countries are taxing them.

And by coincidence, I read in the Guardian today that San Francisco is banning all bags made from petroleum base.

We also talked about the role of regional foods and companies, and how TNCs often intervene and ensure that their products are advertised: we mentioned ideas such as product placement, brand loyalty and how small companies are bought by larger. We also considered whether there were local brands, and mentioned Bernard Matthews.

Thanks to Tony C and Justin W for passing on details of the Pilot GCSE course that I missed in Birmingham earlier this week. Some useful exam feedback which we will feed back to you via this blog, and good to see that Agenda 21 was seen as being important. Just as well we’ve done lots on that !

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