THE ECONOMIC PAMPHLETEER: Ethnicity and the War on Big Food
A recent Fortune magazine story, "Special Report: The war on big food" begins, "Major packaged-food companies lost [US]$4 billion in market share alone last year, as shoppers swerved to fresh and organic alternatives. Can the supermarket giants win you back?" (Kowitt, 2015, para. 1). The story describes how a wide range of consumer concerns is eroding the market power of the large corporate food companies. The consumer concerns include artificial colors and flavors, pesticides, preservatives, high-fructose corn syrup, growth hormones, antibiotics, gluten, and genetically modified organisms. All of these concerns stem directly or indirect from the industrial paradigm of food production and distribution, including industrial agriculture.
No one has more at stake in the outcome of this war than America's ethnic minorities. Today's industrial food system has failed in its fundamental purpose of providing food security, leaving many Americans without adequate quantities or qualities of foods to support active, healthy lifestyles. In 2012, nearly 15% of all Americas were classified as food insecure (RTI International, 2014, p. 1-6), and more than 20% of American children lived in food-insecure homes (RTI International, 2014, p. 1-7). Ethnic minorities experience significantly higher levels of food insecurity than the U.S. population as a whole. In 2012, 25% of African American and 23% of Hispanic households experienced food insecurity (RTI International, 2014, p. 1-7). One study found that 40% of American Indians lived in food insecure households (RTI International, 2014, p. 1-7). This level of insecurity is far higher today than during the 1960s—the early years of "big food" and "big farms."...
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