Thursday, June 21, 2012

Grocery Spending in America

The chart below from the Bureau of Labor Statisitics has some intriguing data on what we spend our money on in the grocery store.

You would think with more farmers markets and CSA's emerging, and with the general trend of eating real, whole food, that Americans spending on processed food would have decreased. Unfortunately as this chart shows, we are spending more on processed items than ever. Since 1982, our spending has just about doubled in this area. What does this tell us? Our reliance on processed food is too high. It is another contributing factor to the health problems we face here. Processing any kind of food, regardless of how healthy it is, strips it of many key nutrients. Not only that, but they contain many added preservatives and chemicals to enhance the flavor. These are things that do not occur naturally in real food. Some examples are xantham gum, yellow #5, and of course high fructose corn syrup.

A quick glance at this chart may seem like meat consumption has decreased since 1982. This is not true. Instead, the price of meat has decreased, and we are eating about the same amount of it as 30 years ago. So, why did the price drop? Large, factory farms have taken over the market, they feed their animals cheap corn, grow their animals larger than what is natural, and have increased that rate of which they can slaughter.

The best way to combat processed food spending is to buy as much as you can from farmers markets and local producers, or grow your own food in a backyard garden. Choosing meats from a farm you know feeds their animals grass is another step in the right direction. If buying processed food, it is always a good idea to read the ingredients and make a choice from there.

1 comment:

Teri McCune Oostra said...

Having just read this article, I am curious where the statistics come from? If they are gathered from conventional sources, groceries stores etc, then they are inaccutate. I have not seen very accurate information come out about the purchases at farmer's markets yet as well. I do know that the sales of locally grown produce has almost doubled over the last year. That is an excellent sign of our community choosing to eat healthier and purchase locally.