NPR’s Planet Money team came out with a whole slew of infographics showing how America’s grocery buying habits have changed over the past 30 years. Chart number 1 up top couldn’t be more clear — we spend more money on processed food than we did in the ’80s, like a whole lot more money.
Meat, dropped to second place — but that doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re eating any less of it. Chart number 2 below shows that the prices of pork chops and chicken legs have dropped by more than a third in the past 30 years — so while Americans may be spending less of their overall budget on meat, they can still buy more of it than before.
Walter Falcon, a Stanford economist, told NPR that the price of meat has dropped because of the “major restructuring in poultry, pork and beef industries that has allowed efficiencies and brought down the cost.” As Mother Jones’s Tom Philipott points out, though, those “efficiencies” come at the expense of “labor, animal welfare, public health, and the environment” and of course quality. Meat quality is pretty piss-poor unless you spend real money on it.
Still wonder why you’re fat? It’s economically more feasible to eat potato chips and chicken legs than it is to eat fruits and veggies.