Revista de Estudios Sociales
Print version ISSN 0123-885X
GUARIN, Alejandro. Fourth-rate meat for fourth-rate consumers. rev.estud.soc. [online]. 2008, n.29, pp. 104-119. ISSN 0123-885X.
This is a study of beef retailing in Bogotá (Colombia), and especially about the persistence of informal networks of sale and consumption. In my view, informality is responsible for two concomitant and seemingly opposite phenomena: high meat prices (the result of a long, unproductive, and inefficient supply chain), and the distribution of poor quality meat, slaughtered under questionable hygienic conditions, which in fact allows the poorest people to gain access to it. I begin this article by examining the importance of beef in Colombia. I then explore why it is so expensive, and describe the structure of its retailing and consumption chain. I end by discussing the implications of informal retailing and the impact of new, "modernizing" regulations that are being imposed.
Keywords : Beef; commodity chains; retailing; Bogotá; informality.