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How do you regulate the platform economy?

Online marketplaces have changed the way businesses sell services. But what does this mean for consumer rights?

A platform is a technology business that facilitates the exchange of goods or services. The difference between a platform and a traditional retailer is that the platform doesn't take ownership of those goods or services. It's really just a broker in an exchange.

But what are the implications of the rise of platform businesses in the food ecosystem?

The recent explosion of digital food delivery platforms such as Deliveroo and Just Eat, all the way through to food sales on Facebook Marketplace, has created a complex regulatory environment in an area where there are significant health and safety risks for the consumer.

This has been particularly apparent during the covid-19 pandemic, with more home cooks selling food from a residential setting as a way of securing additional income streams - and more customers buying food online.

It raises a series of challenging questions:

  • How can regulators navigate this rapidly changing space?
  • What level of accountability do platforms have in the exchange of products between business and consumer?
  • What happens when these transactions occur across different legislative borders?

I recently took part in a podcast hosted by Bill Murray of Leading Edge Forum, alongside Julie Pierce, Director of Openness, Data and Digital for the Food Standards Agency, to discuss our recent work together in this space.

To hear the discussion, and find out more about how the FSA is pioneering the regulation of hybrid physical/digital businesses in the food sector, listen to the podcast here.

Platforms & Regulation in the Food Ecosyste‪m Podcast

Author

Lucy Hart
Lucy Hart
Senior Delivery Manager
Foundry4

Lucy is an expert delivery manager with experience in both startups and the public sector, known for her ability to clearly articulate complex ideas.

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