Along with some other critics of the American way of eating, he likes the idea that some kinds of food will cost more, and here’s one reason why: As the price of fossil fuels and commodities like grain climb, nutritionally questionable, high-profit ingredients like high-fructose corn syrup will, too. As a result, Cokes are likely to get smaller and cost more. Then, the argument goes, fewer people will drink them.
And if American staples like soda, fast-food hamburgers and frozen dinners don’t seem like such a bargain anymore, the American eating public might turn its attention to ingredients like local fruits and vegetables, and milk and meat from animals that eat grass. It turns out that those foods, already favorites of the critics of industrial food, have also dodged recent price increases.
Logic would dictate that arguing against cheap food would be the wrong move when the Consumer Price Index puts food costs at about 4.5 percent more this year than last. But for locavores, small growers, activist chefs and others, higher grocery bills might be just the thing to bring about the change they desire.
“It’s very hard to argue for higher food prices because you are ceding popular high ground to McDonald’s when you do that,” said Mr. Pollan, a contributor to The New York Times Magazine and author of In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto. “But higher food prices level the playing field for sustainable food that doesn’t rely on fossil fuels.”
—Kim Severson, The New York Times, 4/2/08