In the United States, the food system is dominated by a handful of giant companies that produce ultra-processed foods. These companies have powerful lobbying groups that protect their interests in Washington, D.C. The food system needs a revolution, not tinkering around the edges by the ultra-processed food producers.
The current food system is not sustainable. It is dependent on fossil fuels, water pollution, and soil depletion. The food system is also a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Ultra-processed foods are unhealthy. They are loaded with sugar, salt, and unhealthy fats. They are also devoid of essential nutrients.
The current food system is unfair. Small farmers are being pushed out of business by large, multinational corporations. Farmworkers are paid poverty wages and are often treated poorly. The food system is also contributing to the obesity epidemic.
The food system needs to be completely rebuilt. We need to move away from factory farming and toward sustainable, organic agriculture. We need to support local farmers and food businesses. We need to ensure that all workers in the food system are paid a living wage. And we need to make healthy, nutritious food more affordable and accessible to everyone.
Tinkering around the edges is not enough to feed the world healthily and sustainably. We need a radical transformation of the food system, one that starts with a reduction in the production and consumption of ultra-processed foods.
Ultra-processed foods are those that are highly processed and often contain additives. They are often high in sugar, fat and salt, and have been linked to a range of health problems, including obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Despite this, they continue to be a significant part of the diet in many countries, accounting for around 60% of the calories consumed in the US and 50% in the UK.
There are a number of reasons for this, including the fact that they are often cheaper and more convenient than other foods. But it is also due to the fact that the food industry has been slow to respond to the growing evidence of the harms of these products.
This needs to change. We need to see a dramatic reduction in the production and consumption of ultra-processed foods. This can be achieved through a combination of measures, including:
– Regulation, such as taxes and restrictions on advertising
– Education, to help people make healthier choices
– Support for small-scale and local food producers
– investment in public food infrastructure, such as school and hospital kitchens
These measures will require a concerted effort from policymakers, food companies and the public. But it is essential if we are to create a food system that is healthier and more sustainable.