The core to Jeff Rubin's book is as the title says - your world is about to get a whole lot smaller. The Globe and Mail story below examines a specific trend emerging in the grocery business - is the big box grocer shrinking? It has only been in the recent past that I have even ventured into a Walmart with groceries in mind - honestly I didn't pay a whole lot of attention to their offerings in this regard. For some specific items I see value. Not all too different from Costco, which is just not as convenient for me. I am generally drawn to the typical grocers for their selection and freshness.
But the part that I find intriguing in the story is the connection to the aging population and the change in what the up coming generations might adopt, and how that relates to the big box grocers. Does that mean that the like of Canadian Superstore, Leon's, The Brick and other similar brands are on borrowed time. Or has The Brick already started their contraction? I have that perception, or is it just a sign of the times with retail in general?
The premise behind the 'shrinking' of the globe is that globalization has possibly not been as successful as oft reported. But it is it not a matter of the aspect under discussion? The broad availability of information sharing technology is both a blessing and curse. As is just-in-time manufacturing. The debate is that as the price of energy rises, assumptions that made these strategies viable, even profitable, may not prove as valid as they were with cheaper energy inputs. The entire buy local movement has several drivers, one being energy and material inputs/outputs. My driver for that is the freshness and variety that comes from following the seasons and seasonal availabilities, while not relying upon blueberries in February from so far flung location. I'm trying to envision my world smaller.
So how will these expectations be met in the coming decades? What changes will be 'forced' if/when energy prices become more influential on the choices we make? For me, it used to be a big deal to drive the 300mi (500km) to boarding school. When now a 1000km trip to Vancouver is done in a day without thinking twice. What if making such a trip is just not reasonable? Live in Inuvik NWT and experience what the price of milk does after the ice road closes and before the ferry season. Flying in those supplies makes normal household items ridiculously expensive.
I'm glad my parent taught me how to cook. I enjoy preparing food, and I make time for it. Packaged meals just have no appeal to me. I recognize that I have made certain choices and those may not be well suited for some others, but in some cases, I believe we might be headed into a reality where some of those decisions might well be forced upon on.