How appropriate then that NPR’s Planet Money, as part of its Graphing America series, should look at how America’s food spending has changed over the last 30 years. The headline figure — the one Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack is proudest of — is that we spend just under 9 percent of our income on food, about 30 percent less than we did in 1982.
Image courtesy of NPR.
....[M]eat prices demonstrate the most shocking price drop....As the meat industry consolidated, industrialized, and specialized, labor costs dropped — but rural unemployment soared. Meanwhile, the environmental costs of livestock farming, which were manageable when fewer animals in smaller farms were distributed over larger areas, were shifted, too.... There’s a human cost, too. Workers in the giant slaughterhouses that now dominate the meat industry labor in some of the worst workplace conditions in the country....Animal welfare went out the window with industrialization.... [T]his reduction in food spending...coincide[s] with the shift toward processed food and the onset of the obesity epidemic. We’re spending less for food, but we’re also clearly eating far worse....
You get what you pay for.
Read the complete article at Food has gotten cheaper — but at what cost?