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The global supply chain that keeps perishable goods at controlled temperatures has revolutionised the food industry, and other industries too.

The global supply chain that keeps perishable goods at controlled temperatures has revolutionised the food industry. It widened our choice of food and improved our nutrition. It enabled the rise of the supermarket. And that, in turn, transformed the labour market: less need for frequent shopping frees up women to work. As low-income countries get wealthier, fridges are among the first things people buy: in China, it took just a decade to get from a quarter of households having fridges to nearly nine in ten.

Presenter: Tim Harford
Producer: Ben Crighton
Editors: Richard Knight and Richard Vadon

(Image: Fully loaded shelves, Credit: Shutterstock)

Available now

9 minutes

Last on

Mon 16 Oct 2017 03:50GMT

Sources and related links

Dan Koeppel - Banana: The fate of the fruit that changed the world, Hudson Street Press, 2008

Tom Jackson - Chilled: How refrigeration changed the world and might do so again, Bloomsbury, 2015

Stephen Schlesinger - Bitter Fruit: The story of the American Coup in Guatemala

Frederick McKinley Jones - 'The King of Cool'

The village that just got its first fridge - BBC News

Greenhouse Gas Emissions in the life-cycle of carrots and tomatoes - Annika Carlsson

Greener by mile - The Telegraph

The World Factbook - CIA

Food assistance factsheet - Guatemala - USAID

The Global Competitiveness Report 2016-2017 - World Economic Forum

Broadcasts

  • Sat 14 Oct 2017 02:50GMT
  • Sat 14 Oct 2017 19:50GMT
  • Mon 16 Oct 2017 03:50GMT

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