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June 2007
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You are what you…package your food in?

Time magazine has a great photo essay entitled “What the World Eats,” which shows families of various sizes from around the world surrounded by the food they eat in one week. Not unexpectedly, there are some huge differences in types and amounts of food. Cost in US$ is provided, but not adjusted for local income levels. What was interesting to me was not so much the cost of food, since the article provided no real comparative data on the topic, but rather the kinds of food and the packaging. Many families–not just American families–were surrounded by dozens of bottles, cans, and plastic packages. Compared to most other countries, Americans had very few vegetables, especially unprocessed vegetables. Fast food meals were represented with the assorted disposable bags, boxes, and cups in which they are sold. Interestingly, Corn Flakes appeared on many peoples’ tables.

Obviously, one family’s table can scarcely be thought to represent the way every family eats, but the essay does really underscore (for me) the dark side of “progress” and technology. I bet the refugee family is the most likely to reuse their burlap packaging for next week’s meals.

Time essay: What the World Eats

Comments

Comment from Jodi
Time: June 8, 2007, 2:08 pm

The story about the eagle?! Oh. My. God.

My vet is the local eagle rehabilitator and every time that I visit him, he has some great story to share with me. Next time, the tables will be turned!

Comment from soNOTcool
Time: June 15, 2007, 5:23 pm

ryc: Yes, I have tried Sephora. They are fun to shop from, but they cannot replace gloss.com because … they lack Clinique!

They go get one point for Lip Venom though. 😉

Comment from Joshua Middlekauff
Time: June 22, 2007, 9:07 am

The other two posts have nothing to do with this article. What in the world?

Anyway, I think what you bring up is very interesting and telling. Out of all the negatives of our corporate wealthing (I just made that word up) consumer based society, this is just one more tipping point.

Comment from Joshua Middlekauff
Time: June 22, 2007, 9:46 am

Couple of comments from the slideshow:
-the Mexican family drinks a lot of Coka Cola
-This article is probably sponsored by kellogs
-the pic of the refugee camp is wild stuff, especially the amount of water they receive.
-I would really enjoy visiting the Kuwaiti family and eating their favorite food in their kitchen
-I want some Pig’s knuckles
-there are two families who have dogs as part of their food intake
-The Mexican’s favorite foods are pizza and pasta

Comment from Christine
Time: June 22, 2007, 11:39 am

Hey Josh, I feel really concerned about the widespread acceptance of products that can only be called “food” in the loosest of senses. We put some pretty weird things in our bodies and in the environment, thanks to really sucessful marketing strategies.

The photo essay is actually an excerpt from a book, Hungry Planet. I plan to check it out ASAP!