Why Food Prices Should Go Up, Not Down
Most of us would like to see prices go down, not up, but food blogger Michelle Madden of The Sweet Beet is going against the grain: In an essay published on Huffington Post, Madden asks: “Is food too cheap?” She answers “yes,” and it's not because she secretly works for a food manufacturers: In a nutshell, she says that bargain-basement food prices have led Americans to eat too much, waste too much, and stop valuing our food the way we should.
Madden's questions about food cost were inspired by a trip to the grocery store while on vacation in Arizona, where she was visiting her parents. She was looking for chicken breasts to use in a recipe, but could only find massive, discounted packages. She didn't want a lot of cheap chicken, she says; she just wanted enough good-quality meat to feed her family. The massive, two-for-one packages of meat prompted her to consider what American food budgets have done for not just our economy, but for our waistlines and health, too:
In the early 1900s we spent 25% of our income on food, today we spend less than 10%, and it's dropping. Over the past 25 years, the price of a McDonald's hamburger has gone down 30%. Is it any surprise our waist lines are expanding, and our illnesses worsening, with every dollar we save?
Madden also brings up a commonly bemoaned issue with food pricing: That healthy foods like vegetables are far more expensive than Froot Loops and factory-farmed meats, but Madden's point gets to something that most critics of our food system don't: That food shouldn't be cheap, period. High-quality, nutritious foods shouldn't come in discounted bulk packages. (And besides, how could they? You can keep a five-pound bucket of pretzels in your pantry for years, but bulk kale has a less forgiving expiration date.) Making all food cheap shouldn't be our goal; it should be to stop pricing processed foods so low that they become the only affordable option.
via Huffington Post