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Image Source: Melissa Askew
Womp womp. Not-so-good news for the year ahead. But it's no surprise. In fact, some analysts would say it's about time the era of cheap food (and high collateral costs) gave way to one that reflects the real costs of the food business. We've been conditioned to expect low food prices. Maybe they are artificially low.
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Rich, creamy, nutritious avocados are so popular that producing enough to meet demand is becoming unsustainable. A single avocado can take up to 320 liters (85 gallons) of water to grow and once shipped, its carbon footprint is three times higher than that of a banana. From the UK to the US and Canada, chefs have taken note, replacing avocados in creamy dishes with everything from green peas and fava beans to pistachios and pumpkin seed butter.
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Red, white, and yellow onions have been linked to over 652 illnesses and 129 hospitalizations due to Salmonella poisoning. To control the outbreak, the US Centers for Disease Control advises, "Do not eat, sell, or serve red, white, or yellow onions imported from Mexico and distributed US-wide by ProSource Inc." When in doubt, throw it out.
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Over the past 18 months, beef prices have risen steadily, yet cattle rancher profits have dropped by more than 25%. Meatpackers are taking the lion's share, and the four biggest multinational conglomerates--Tyson, JBS USA, Cargill and National Beef--control more than 80% of the US beef supply. That's a bit too much consolidation according to Joe Biden, who recently signed an executive action aimed at diversifying and strengthening the US meat supply by increasing competition in the beef industry.
Image Source: Julia Louise Pereira
A joint investigation by The Guardian and Food and Water Watch found that only a few transnational companies control the market for nearly 80% of common American grocery items. For instance, PepsiCo owns five of the most popular dip brands and General Mills, Kellogg, and Post own 73% of the breakfast cereals we eat. Go capitalism! The problem is that market dominance and political power by mega-companies do not generally favor consumers, farmers, and retailers.