We’ve all seen the various charts floating around the interwebz showing which mega-corporations own which food brands. The one posted below came to me via Alex Hillsberg’s blog post which I highly recommend. The gist of his analysis: when it comes to food, freedom of choice is just an illusion. So, look at the charts, and then answer the questions I’ve asked at the bottom. You can also follow the link to a post about Soylent: a 21st century solution to avoiding mega-food corporations? (Of course, if the concept of this “total food” takes off, big companies will for sure produce it.) And, just for good measure, mealy worms.
First, the charts:
Okay, I have three questions:
1. How many of the name brands listed in the charts above does your household buy at least once a month?
2. Which of the products listed are “core” items on your shopping list: that is, you actively seek them out when you’re shopping for that particular food item (e.g., you always buy Maxwell House when you’re after coffee)?
3. Do you ever purchase food from local/regional producers, like eggs, vegetables, meat or processed items (homemade bread, for example)? Roughly how often? Only seasonally at farmers markets?
Now, I’m going to take this one step further. Over the last century, our society has obviously moved away from direct access to locally produced food–yes, we’re taking small steps back in that direction, but just by virtue of the abandonment of the farm life for the cities we have become more reliant on major food processors and distributors.
By extension, you could argue that if the trend away from local/natural food continues, we are headed for Soylent. Never heard of Soylent? Check out the current post from Lee Hutchinson who has been blogging about Soylent for the past year–including about his week of living exclusively on Soylent. You can find his earlier posts through the link I’ve provided.
Finally, Dale Hobson has, of course, found the squirmiest, squishiest example of 21st century food solutions. Check it out here.
And don’t forget to answer those questions.
Here are my answers, to get you going:
1) I buy at least a couple of dozen big food company products each month. It may vary from month to month, but I buy them.
2) There are very few products that hold my loyalty. I bounce around, but I’m still buying big company items.
3) I live on a farm and grow a huge percentage of my seasonal vegetables, preserving the surplus for winter. I also have laying hens, so I haven’t bought a commercial egg in years. As a result, I only visit farmers markets a couple of times a summer. I don’t eat meat so I don’t buy that from local producers.