In this chapter, food politics, sustainability, the food industry, food security, and diets from around the world are explored.
- 14.1: Prelude to Food Politics and Perspectives
- Some consumers are choosing to make smarter nutritional choices, eat healthier foods, and enjoy fresh, locally grown products. They read the labels on products in their local stores, make more home-cooked meals using whole-food ingredients, and pay attention to the decisions that legislators and other officials make regarding food production and consumption. Will you be one of them? How you can adjust your dietary selections to benefit not only your body and mind but also to help sustain the pla
- 14.2: Historical Perspectives on Food
- Perspectives and practices related to food and nutrition have greatly changed from the ancient era to today. In the ancient world, location and economic status had a profound effect on what people ate. Also, societies often were based on crop cultivation and livestock rearing, which influenced how people ate, worked, and lived. During the Medieval Era, people became more exposed to food from other parts of the world because of the growing ability to ship goods among other factors.
- 14.3: The Food Industry
- The food industry encompasses all aspects of food production: manufacturing, distribution, marketing, retail, regulation, and consumption. Food preservation and processing have a number of benefits including improving the quality of food products, making them more shelf-stable, and aiding the marketing and advertising of food. There are more than three hundred additives used during food processing today.
- 14.4: The Politics of Food
- Food politics reflect changing perspectives and policies in the areas of production, distribution, marketing, regulation, and consumption. Over the years, there have been a number of controversies and disputes over food, including concerns about additives and GM foods, the push for sustainable agriculture, and the need to alleviate hunger. In the United States, a massive piece of legislation known as the Farm Bill determines the agricultural and food policy of the federal government.
- 14.5: Food Cost and Inflation
- Food prices are rising in the United States and around the world, which has greatly affected both agricultural producers and consumers. A number of factors have contributed to rising costs, including population booms, natural disasters, and the production of biofuels, among others. Economic experts have declared that the era of cheap food, which began after World War II, has ended due to rising population rates and decreased agricultural production worldwide.
- 14.6: The Issue of Food Security
- Nearly one billion people suffer the effects of constant hunger. There are two types of malnutrition. The first is macronutrient deficiency and relates to the lack of adequate protein, which is required for cell growth, maintenance, and repair. The second type of malnutrition is micronutrient deficiency and relates to inadequate vitamin and mineral intake.
- 14.7: Nutrition and Your Health
- More consumers are weighing nutritional considerations as they choose which foods to purchase and prepare for their families. Studies have shown that family meals and home-cooked food not only benefit a person’s health, but also their overall well-being. Family meals lead to the consumption of healthy food, tighter familial bonds, improved communication, and the teaching of table manners to young children. Diet plays a key role in the prevention and management of many chronic conditions.
- 14.8: Diets around the World
- Many people around the world have access to a wide variety of food and can prepare it any way they choose. However, cuisine remains strongly influenced by location, culture, tradition, and economics. People from all cultures and all walks of life should consider the choices they make regarding food, and how those decisions affect not only their bodies, but also the world.
Thumbnail: Members of the Pure Milk Association dump milk before it could get to a non-member dairy in Harvard, Illinois sometime in the 1930s. The successful “Milk Strike” led to organizing farmers to get higher prices for their milk. Image is considered public domain.