Thursday, March 25, 2010

Healthy Thoughts

Why is “health” food more expensive? It’s an interesting thought that healthy food is now served at a premium in restaurants and stores… When I was growing up, just about all food was healthy. It had a lot to do with how it was prepared though that made it unhealthy. Now, in order to eat healthy, there are restaurants and stores that exist solely on this premise. I actually used to manage one myself. A really glorified salad bar with soups, pastas and a bakery.

I thought to myself, this is a great concept, but one could just do the same at home for much less! What I have found in the University Dining Industry is that it costs my operation slightly more to rid the kitchen of sodium, sugar, and saturated fat and return to healthy preparation. How did this happen? Why are more nutritious products more costly?

I believe the answer is simple market principles at play. Supply and demand for fast and easy has driven prices down, while slow and challenging drives prices up. This sort of goes with the slow food movements, but I look at it from the commodity industry side rather than the philosophical side. In other words, prepared foods are now more popular than sloe foods and thus the prices are at a premium. I am hoping for a paradigm shift at some point to reverse this trend, but I am not sure what it will take. Should we bring back Home Economics as a required course in schools? Who knows…


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