“If I had a dollar for every time someone said that they don’t buy fruits and vegetables or “healthy food” because it’s too expensive, I could feed a small town all organic food for years!” wrote Food Tank co-founder Ellen Gustafson in a recent Huffington Post article. Reality is, on a calorie per dollar basis, junk food often wins. However, Gustafson challenges us to look past the price tag.
A US$1.00 burger requires many inputs not visible to the buyers eye. “You need to start with growing corn — which requires acres of corn fields, seeds, gallons of water, gas for heavy machinery, pounds of fertilizer and sprays of pesticides, and government subsidies. Then you need to fatten cows as quickly as possible, potentially give them antibiotics, deal with their waste, transport them to slaughter, power the slaughter facility, refrigerate the ground meat and then cook it! Not to mention all the costs associated with the processed wheat bun and condiments,” explains Gustafson. The truth is that cheap junk food’s price tag is not the whole story.