Between 1964 and 1966 a very detailed study of food distribution in the United States was undertaken by the National Commission on Food Marketing. In this article an attempt is made to set out the main findings of the Commission and to evaluate them. This study was undertaken primarily to examine whether the growing margin between the prices consumers pay and the prices farmers receive in the United States was justified and if not how it could be reduced. The Commission concluded that the growth in this margin was, by and large, justified; that food processors and retailers were technically progressive and earning mostly profits which were comparable with those in other sectors of the economy. A majority of the Commission was critical of excessive advertising expenditures in the marketing and distribution of food. The Commission assembled a sizable staff to provide a detailed picture of present trends; in addition they undertook some useful analyses of the profitability of different sections of the food marketing and retailing industries and of the factors which affect such profitability.


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