Why are fast food and junk food cheaper than healthy, natural foods?
I asked this question to a food politics professor and all she could say was, “…. I don’t know.” The basis for this question came from our current food crisis.
Ironically, many citizens in what our society calls “highly-developed nations” — or what I call “centers of capitalism” — are extremely unhealthy with obesity at unimaginable levels. This type of lifestyle is from the food that we eat. Our engine is our body and we have fed it with artificially manufactured foods. Why is this the case?
This is a matter of system.
Capitalism is the home of profit. This type of mindset is not bad per se, but focusing on having more numbers (earning money) infects any virtuous mind with greed.
Excessive greed has no boundaries and no mercy towards anyone and this is blatantly seen in the food industry.
Documentaries like Food Inc. and books like The Real Cost of Cheap Food reveal capitalism’s twisted grasp on the food we eat. Obesity levels are skyrocketing and our health is declining, but herein lies a sneaky collaboration between food corporations and the healthcare industry. As Michael Carolan (2013) states, “Is the ‘cheapness’ of cheap food, at least in part, an artifact of cost shifting, from one industry (food) to another?” (p. 75). In other words, has the goal of profit created a cooperation between two seemingly separate industries at the expense of the common people? Director Robert Kenner in his documentary Food Inc. depicts the horrible treatment of animals as they become intoxicated with antibiotics since birth (Kenner, 2008). Is there a connection between the antibiotic industry and the corporatized farming industry?? I think the answer is obvious. Aside from profit, governments have been attempting to promote a healthy lifestyle for the general public. But why do they fail to restrict corporate interests that damage the hard working middle class, which is the stronghold of any nation?
I recently went backpacking to China and I was stunned.
Everything I heard about this country was wrong. Especially the food.
The food was delicious. There were no preservatives or artificial flavoring. The meat and seafood were especially fresh.
Surprisingly, I saw that much of the land is dedicated to farming (this is what I gathered from my observations while traveling via train across northern and southern China). The people eating at any restaurant ate heartily and happily.
I could not taste the marks of the antibiotic farming industry! In the countryside, the simple lifestyle carries delicious taste unknown to Western societies.
The way the food is prepared, the water sources, and even the way the animals are raises are done harmoniously and naturally.
Even in the city, I could freely go to any restaurant without looking at an app to check for reviews. I can confidently say food is not a problem here.
Fresh vegetables, meat, and a spicy broth cooked to perfection!
A simple meal of Chinese-styled omelet and broccoli (along with a bowl of rice)
We need a system that is for the people. The ideal system that brings health, happiness, and truth to the people. We are at a breaking point because what is going on right now cannot sustain itself any longer. The big question here is:
Is this ideal system already in progress and are we just blinded by our prejudices?
I look forward to hearing the sound of your thoughts.
Carolan, M. (2013). The Real Cost of Cheap Food. Florence: Taylor and Francis.
Kenner, R., Kenner, R., Kenner, R., Pearce, R., Schlosser, E., Schlosser, E., . . . Adler, M. (Writers), & Pearce, R. (Director). (n.d.). Food, Inc. [Video file]. Retrieved July 16, 2017.