Monday, September 26, 2011

Is junk food really cheaper than healthy food?

Mark Bittman of the NY Times has written an excellent article contradicting the notion that junk food is cheaper than healthy food.  Slow Food's recent $5 challenge and the corresponding abundance of delicious $5-10 meal recipes they continue to post also serve to dismantle this claim.  Bittman goes even further, quoting Marion Nestle to point out that the problem is less about eating junk food, and more about not cooking for ourselves.

Bittman is relentless in tackling the barriers to eating well:  food deserts; lack of time (spent watching television instead, for example); thinking of cooking as "work"; the addictiveness of hyperprocessed food; ubiquity of fast-food restaurants (5-to-1 ratio of fast-food outlets to supermarkets), aka "food swamps".

The conclusion is that changes need to happen at the cultural and political levels.  Organizations like Cooking Matters and Fresh Approach work with families and communities, combining education, incentives, and outreach.  Politically, we need to pay attention to the powerful marketing by the fast-food industry, and start to understand the effects of US farm subsidies on our overall agricultural system.

Kudos to Bittman and the NY Times for a great analysis of many of the issues contributing to healthy food access.  At Share | Kitchen, we plan to offer workshops discussing these very topics.  Stay tuned!

No comments:

Post a Comment