OK, I almost forgive Time for their estupido “don’t bother exercising” piece: Getting Real About the High Cost of Cheap Food asks a simple question: What is the true cost of food?
If we consider food through its entire life cycle, from seed to table to disposal, it becomes clear that we’re living on borrowed time and money. “Penny wise, pound foolish” applies also to what we eat, and it’s increasingly obvious that looking for the lowest prices hasn’t done us any favours.
Unfortunately, despite the availability of cheap crap, low-cost healthy food can be harder to access in many poorer neighbourhoods. In part, this reflects less about the cost of food and more about what is subsidized: GMO corn and soy, high-fructose corn syrup production*, etc. In part, it also reflects social-geographic priorities about what is important and valuable. It reflects the distribution system of industrial food production, which makes it more pricey to produce and ship, for example, fresh produce. And it reflects our expectations — about what we should pay for food.
Investing in conservation (e.g. of dwindling fish stocks) may seem like an expensive proposition at the outset (as all investments do), but expecting that the earth will yield increasingly cheap goodies forever will eventually become much more costly.
In the meantime, we can continue to eat — cheaply — such gourmet delights as the KFC Double Down. I’m a bit pissed that KFC stole my idea for a “meat glove” that would eliminate the need for bread (which essentially provides a thermal barrier) with a hot meat sandwich. However, kudos for their forward-thinking in making the “meat glove” more meat. Why didn’t I come up with that?
Now I’m running to the kitchen to figure out how to make a steak-wrapped steak fajita.
*BTW I talked to a food chemist who works for Coke this weekend. Apparently the smell of HFCS being manufactured is barfworthy.