The true price of cheap food

Food is dirt cheap. To be exact: it is too cheap. The real costs are way higher than the prices we pay in supermarkets and at discounters.

True Cost Accounting of Food Production

The ones paying the bill are our environment and people that are being exploited for the cheap production of food.

True cost accounting is a trend I like for once. Do you remember my article "Why our food is too cheap"? If not just follow the link because it contains lots of detailled info on the subject.

Weekend - Cheap end

The weekend is approaching, and supermarkets are outdoing each other with discount prices. A pack of tortillas for 0.25 cent, three cucumbers for a dollar, Avocados? 49 cent a piece at the Jewel. How about Walmart? I boycott this store for so many years that I would not know ...

Who thinks that conventional agriculture could produce food at this prices is wrong. Selling an avocado for 49 cents cannot work. Growing the avocado has caused costs that we do not find in the end price. That is ignoring the cost of sales, rent for the store, salaries, transportation costs, marketing costs, etc.

Polluted waters - leached lands

  A new movement that has also been picked up by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) wants to inform and raise awareness of the true costs of food.   True cost accounting includes costs for the production that until now do not appear anywhere:

  • Over-exploitation of land
  • Pollution of waters
  • Extinction of plants and animal species
  • Climate changes
  • Social exploitation

These costs are not reflected in the price we pay at the checkout. Regarding to the FAO, the yearly costs for environmental damages sum up to 2100 billion dollars, the costs for social exploitation even to 2700 billion dollars.

Environmental Damage

  Consumers do pay the price of conventional food production eventually.   Conventional agriculture does not add social and ecological costs into the prices people pay at the checkout.  

Organic Food is All Inclusive

  Organic food production does not impose these costs on the people or the environment. Different cultivation practices address pollution. They bind greenhouse gasses as they grow and practice a mostly responsible handling of individuals and animals.   That is expensive. And we pay these costs at the supermarket register.

In short: Organic includes the cost actual cost of producing food - conventional agriculture does not. 

Organic is not expensive - Conventional is cheap

  The reality of things is that conventional food is too cheap. And dishonest. We all will pay the price at one point.  

Organic or not

  We as consumers make the call. To raise awareness of the problem, Nature & More has calculated the true costs of a few foods. You can read all about that on their WEBSITE.   It´s not easy to calculate the real cost of food production. How do you put a number on the exploitation of people and the environment? How do you calculate the follow-up costs? Not all costs burdens for the society are as transparent as the public cost of welfare for Walmart employees (that by the way amounted to 6.2 billion dollars in 2014.)   By an FAO report, Nature & More was able to create a model that allows the calculation of the true cost of food.    

I recently had another discussion with someone about the price of organic eggs. My conversation partner claimed he could not afford them. The amazing thing is that he spends tons of money. Every day he grabs his coffee from Starbucks (that´s a pack of organic eggs per day), he pays $ 189 per month to Comcast for his TV bundle and so on.   Really? And you cannot afford $ 3 extra for healthy eggs? Like is the exploitation of people and the destruction of our environment and your health not more important than watching King of Thrones?   We all make our choices. And then we have to live with the choices we made - and with ourselves.