Costs of Industrialized Food

I found the article below when I was shopping for coconut oil this morning. It does an excellent job of comparing/contrasting industrialized food with real food. It also thoroughly explains some of the reasons why industrialized (e.g. processed) foods are so bad for one’s health and for our society. Click the link below to access the article.

“Is Cheap Food Really Cheap? The Hidden Costs of Industrial Food” by Raine Saunders

Happy reading!

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2 thoughts on “Costs of Industrialized Food

  1. Nicole Swinton says:

    One of the things that is most concerning to me is how “real” food, organic food, local food etc. is really a privilege in this country. Low income and/or undereducated families cannot fully participate in this food revolution. It’s very sad to see the rates of childhood obesity among low income minorities. And most of these families are just trying to figure out how to feed their children for the next week- it’s not really on their radar to worry about their health profiles 25 years out. When both parents are working, sometimes a couple jobs each, and neither parent has the time or skills to grow their own food, participate in a community garden or research healthy food prep and habits, the only realistic option for these busy, budget conscious families is inexpensive easy foods. They may buy fresh produce and avoid junk food but it’s not very likely that they would consider the cost/health benefit of organic verses non-organic potatoes. And when white bread and white pasta costs pennies per serving, they are certainly not going for the whole grain options. Their grocery cart contains cheap, pre-made, heavily processed foods that will allow them to get a meal on the table. And reduced cost school lunch, soup kitchens and food pantries are most likely not taking into consideration food sources or food chemistry.

    Could their ever really be a more holistic approach to feeding the underpriviledged of America? Could industrialized food ever be more than artificial, empty calories? Is there a way to not just feed the masses today but also feed them for a lifetime- a long, healthy, productive lifetime?

    • Grace says:

      Good questions! Obviously there are so many different aspects to this situation. I think a significant part of the dilemma is that people (even middle or upper income levels) are not educated about what foods are good for them and how those foods should even be cooked. Most people think that eating healthy just means eating more fruits and veggies.

      I do know that a large number of farmer’s markets accept food stamps. Kudos to those markets! However, with so many low income families in service jobs, I’m sure it is difficult to go to the market when most are only open one or two days a week. In the back of my mind, I’m thinking about all the families I’ve seen doing their grocery shopping at Wal-Mart at 9:30 p.m. (kids in tow).

      I recognize that it is difficult for some families to buy local, organic (or just plain healthy) foods and that there are a number of reasons why this is the case. It’s hard for me to accept the argument that people cannot afford to buy healthy food. Just cutting out unhealthy, processed snack food (and soft drinks) opens up a fair amount of money for most families. Similarly, I can sympathize with people who do not think they have the time to cook healthy meals. I understand that if you are not home because of working several jobs, then it is difficult to put healthy food on the table for your family, as healthy food is not as easy to prepare as cutting a few slits in a package and putting it in the microwave for five minutes. It requires some prep work and time to prepare.

      However, I do think, as with many things in life, everyone has their priorities. Some people would rather spend their money on entertainment- direct tv, playstations, etc. (which, of course, have lots of ads encouraging people to buy unhealthy foods), than on healthier food. The tragic thing to me is that most of our society is not educated about their food. Instead, most rely heavily on gaining information pertaining to food from the mainstream media (e.g. advertisements). Is it any wonder, considering the amount of advertisements most of us see on a regular basis, that unhealthy processed foods are so popular? Plus, most of the heavily processed foods are made with ingredients that have been subsidized, which means we can buy the foods cheaper than what they should be because the government essentially pays farmers to overproduce certain crops (corn, etc.). More on government subsidization to come in a later blog post…

      When we consider the enormous amount of money these companies spend advertising their products and compare it to the minimal amount of money the government or local communities spend informing the public about healthy eating, it is clear that there is very little chance that things will change. Unfortunately, the entity spending the most money in advertising usually gets the audience and the buyer.

      So, I don’t have any grand answer besides to suggest that we petition companies to make healthier products (and they then change their advertising) and educate our own families about healthy nutrition. We vote with every dollar we spend. Change is happening all across America, slowly, but surely. It wasn’t so long ago that farmer’s markets as we know them were nearly extinct in America because of the industrial revolution. Now, there is one, even if it’s small, in nearly every town. Larger food corporations are starting to recognize that people want healthier options and so they are beginning to offer new products (yes, I recognize that these are more expensive than their other products, but at least it is a start). Hopefully, one day we won’t have to go to the supermarket and choose between organic and not organic produce, it will all just be produced in a safe and healthy manner.

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