Thursday, November 01, 2007

Why Does a Salad Cost More than a Big Mac?

Here's a related issue to Doc OC's Omnivore's Dilemma post. It has to do with the so-called "Farm Bill" making its way through Congress. This issue was recently explored by a public interest group called the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

What types of foods does the US government subsidize?
Meaning, what kinds of farmers or agricultural corporations receive financial aid from the government? The answer actually lies in a question: "Why Does a Salad Cost More than a Big Mac?"
Relatively recently, my family and I have been trying very hard to eat healthier. For years, it was just cheaper to eat fatty, calorie-laden foods, and it showed in its effects on our health and weight. I was 50 pounds overweight, and when I decided to change my poor eating habits, I could hardly believe how much money we had to spend at the grocery store in order to eat well (fresh fruits, vegetables, and lean meats). And I'm not talking about shopping at Whole Paycheck, um...Foods, either!

Want proof? The next time you go to the grocery store, check the price of 99% extra lean ground turkey, and compare it to an equivalent amount of regular (fatty) ground beef. What other odd pricing structures have you noticed?


Chris said...

I was at first shocked when I saw the comparison between the nutrition piramid and the pyramid showing the amount of gov't subsidies given to farms. When I thought about the distribution, it made a bit more sense to me though. Although Vegtables, fruits, and grains are higher up on the nutritional table than meats and dairy, I would assume that meats and dairy are more expense to produce because they deal with living animals that require food, etc. What I dont understand is how Alchol and sugar are reciveing more money than vegtables, fruits, nuts, and legums combined.

Doc OC said...

Good questions, Chris.

Today's New York Times features a powerful op-ed by Michael Pollan that specifically discusses Mr. B's blog entry with respect to the farm bill that just passed the House and that will be debated in the Senate this week. The money that could be given to the poor and needy that is instead being given to line the pockets of gigantic businesses is shocking.

Here's a link to the piece:

Mark@NTHS said...

I agree completely and similar to Mr. Bolos my dad also buys and cooks the food for our family and while he's an anti-cosco goer; its honestly quite inrigueing yet frightening at the same time when we see these crazy prices and how how our parents say things for example like "when i was a kid my mom would give me a 2 dollar bill to go buy her a pack of cigarettes and milk." Yet whats going to happen when we grow up and all the baby boomers retire and the government has to give them social security and if we're still in this war spending something like 50 million dollars a month. It's just scary because where is this money coming from and knowing our natiuon is already in debt frankly frightens me for the future and to grow up. Also on the grocery store thing that if they pass the bill for cook county to have sales tax of something like 11% is astronomical.

Lars said...

It is pretty crazy how obvious the difference in prices between healthy food and unhealthy food. It could be because nowadays more and more people are concerned with what they eat so they are willing to pay more to get healthy foods, and in turn the companies selling them are willing to keep the prices up. Or maybe it's because healthy food is associated with higher standards and higher standards go along with higher prices so the people looking for healthy food are expecting it to be more expensive. Because something costs more, a lot of people would think that its because its better, higher quality.