Posts Tagged ‘average packaged food’

The Economics of a Value Meal

Friday, January 15th, 2010

2010 has started well - at least when it comes to discussions in the media and various online forums about local eating, sustainable farming, Michelle Obama & the White House garden, Michael Pollan's "Food Rules"... hope this momentum keeps going.

One statement that can be read over and over again is that local, organic, small-farmer farmed food is more expensive, hence it is supposedly out of reach for most people and only something the overly rich can spoil themselves with.

WRONG. What most of the debate fails to mention are external costs.

The average packaged food available in supermarkets is heavily processed. It is sure not healthy, if I may challenge the LA Times (http://www.latimes.com/features/food/la-fo-calcook6-2010jan06,0,6888223.story). If we as a society were to consider the future costs of today's food production & eating to the bill, boy, would everyone be surprised how expensive today’s mass-produced fare is. The long term cost for society of these foods and their production is enormous, if directly on our health (allergies, diabetes, obesity, five year old girls in puberty), or indirectly through the environment like C02 emissions, soil erosion… the list goes on. And it is our tax dollars eventually paying for it.

We need some respected economists to use all their skill to come up with a number. How much does a Value Meal really cost??