WMU News

Faculty member writes comprehensive food marketing book

Dec. 23, 1997

KALAMAZOO -- From the growing number of consumers eating in restaurants to the globalization of the nation's food supply, a new textbook by a Western Michigan University faculty member takes a comprehensive approach to the United States food marketing system.

Written by Dr. Joseph J. Belonax, WMU professor of marketing, "Food Marketing" is the first text of its kind to explore all aspects of how the nation provides its food.

Beginning with an overview of the system, the book devotes six chapters to the various sectors that constitute food marketing, including producers, manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers and consumers. Significant attention is paid to how the different structures and marketing decisions within each of these sectors can influence the entire system's operation. The impact of product, pricing, promotion and distribution decisions is also thoroughly explored. The final chapter presents an international perspective that recognizes that customer satisfaction extends beyond U.S. boundaries.

"I wanted to write a book that didn't focus on one sector, like the agricultural sector," says Belonax, who teaches courses in WMU's flagship food marketing program. "I wanted to write a book that was going to cover the entire food marketing system from the producer to the consumer."

Published by Simon & Schuster Custom Publishing, the 550-page text includes more than 40 charts and 190 tables, each representing trend analyses of census data in the areas of agriculture, manufacturing, wholesaling and retailing.

The text is primarily designed for undergraduates and graduate students in food marketing and agribusiness programs, but it also provides a solid foundation in the fundamentals of marketing and other related fields. Belonax says the text has generated interest from professionals currently working in the food marketing business and he suggests that much of the book could be of interest to everyday consumers.

"We spend a great deal of time shopping, purchasing, preparing and consuming food," Belonax says. "If you consider all the time we spend earning money to buy food, most of our waking lives is centered around it. On the other hand, we know so little about the system that provides us the food we need."

WMU is one of only a few leading universities that offers a bachelor of business administration degree with a specialization in food marketing. The WMU food marketing program integrates specialized career preparation in all aspects of food marketing with broad managerial training.

A faculty member for nearly 20 years, Belonax earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from Northern Illinois University and his doctoral degree from the University of Nebraska.

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