Did you know that the United States grows more corn than any other country on the planet? Normally one would say that is a good thing, right? Thanks to modern farming techniques, corn has become relatively cheap to produce and buy, even if supplies of it are being converted to ethanol. For the grocery industry, this means bad foods have become cheaper, while good foods have become more expensive.
The Facts About US Agriculture
There are 90 million acres of corn, but less than 1% of that is used to grow sweet corn for human consumption.
What does this mean? It means corn is being funneled into sweeteners that are cheap and into livestock feed. To make corn even cheaper, the U.S. Government has funded the corn industry with $50 billion over the past decade. For Americans living paycheck to paycheck, this could be one of the primary causes for obesity.
What Does $1 Buy You in Groceries?
1. You can purchase 1,200 calories worth of potato chips for $1 today.
2. You can purchase 875 calories of soda with $1 today, though maybe not name brand soda.
3. On the other hand, you get just 170 fruit calories or 250 vegetable calories with that same dollar.
Takeaway: The grocery industry needs to make a profit, but how ethical is it to make a profit at the cost of the health of their customers? For many families, it is cheaper to eat at McDonald’s off of their value menu than it is to shop for real food grown by farmers for the express purpose of healthy consumption. That’s a pretty serious problem that won’t change unless accountability measures are put into place.
Grocery Industry Statistics Worth Considering
1. Because of the economy, static wages that have lasted for five years or more, and political downsizing by some employers over upcoming increases in health care expenses, 46% of shoppers believe their spending at the grocery store will create financial issues.
2. 40% of families with at least one child are using online resources to find coupons to help their grocery bills stretch a little further.
3. Nearly half of all population groups have stopped purchasing name brand items because generic brands, often promoted by individual grocery store chains, are cheaper.
4. Online grocery shopping options continue to grow, with stores like Safeway even offering free delivery options for consumers within specific zip codes.
5. The average grocery store has 39,000 different food options available for purchase at any given moment.
6. Out of all of those foods, the average American eats over 415 pounds of vegetables each year. Of that, over 58 pounds of those vegetables is corn.
7. Dairy products are the majority part of most American’s grocery bills, but there is also 53 gallons of soda included as well.
Takeaway: The average American eats 2,700 calories every day, partially because they don’t realize how much food they are actually eating. Serving sizes don’t match product sizes; i.e., do you drink just half a bottle of soda at a time or the whole thing? With better management, the grocery industry could be an asset. At this moment, however, it seems to be more about profit.