7 November 2013

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Some argue that the supermarket is a direct descendant of the traditional food market. However, there are two fundamental differences. First of all, although the traders are self-employed, they know that they depend on each other – there is healthy competition on the market – shoppers walk around, looking for the best price – and that’s all part of the market experience, it’s what keeps people coming back, and what keeps the market alive. And then traders and shoppers form a personal bond. Shoppers trust particular traders, and traders, in turn, provide a personal service to regular customers. Healthy competition and that personal relationship, is what makes market shopping different to how people shop in the supermarket. I think the urban food market is still important, because it is about people, their relationship with fresh food, and their relationships with each other. They are called ‘public’ markets for good reason. They are open to all – that’s their nature. It is the fundamental way that the culture and the economy of the market are woven together which makes this work.

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