Is Eating Well Elitist?
Michael Pollan, author of "The Omnivore's Dilemma," currently hosts a blog on The New York Times website where he explores issues surrounding food. In a recent post, he writes the following:
One dollar spent in the processed food section of the supermarket — the aisles in the middle of the store — will buy you 1200 calories of cookies and snacks. That same dollar spent in the produce section on the perimeter will buy you only 250 calories of carrots. Similarly, a dollar spent in the processed food aisles will buy you 875 calories of soda but only 170 calories of fruit juice. So if you’re in the desperate position of shopping simply for calories to keep your family going, the rational strategy is to buy the junk. ... The question is, how did energy-dense foods become so much cheaper in the supermarket than they are in the state of nature? This is not a function of the free market. It is very simply a function of government policy: our farm policies subsidize the most energy-dense and least healthy calories in the supermarket. ... We need farm policies that will somehow right this imbalance, so that healthy calories can compete with unhealthy ones — so that it becomes rational for someone with little to spend on food to buy the carrots instead of the cookies, the orange juice instead of the Sprite. Until that happens, eating well will remain “elitist.”