A study reveals that the American food system costs three times as much as the food itself. The Rockefeller Foundation found out that the United States spends $1.1 trillion a year on food. This price includes the costs of producing, processing, retailing and trading the food people buy and eat. What Americans don’t know is that there are many hidden costs, and that they would pay three times more for their groceries if the true costs of food were calculated in the selling price.
Producing and consuming food does not only feed people but also brings many consequences. Take for example the costs of diet-related diseases, the biggest hidden cost according to the foundation, into account. America’s ‘bill’ for health costs for diseases like hypertension, cancer and diabetes is equal to the money they pay for the food itself. Another important factor is environmental costs which arise from water and air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and reduced biodiversity.
If we don’t change the food system now, our future generations will have to pay for it. The report provides a roadmap for governments, advocates, corporations and even individuals to change the food system. Health costs can be decreased by investing in improved nutrition and healthy food access. The environmental costs show how important it is to invest in sustainable production practices and technologies.
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