Walking through a supermarket is walking through aisles full of products formerly known as food, especially if our budget is limited. The vast majority of foods are an unhealthy mix of sugars, very low quality oils (palm, rapeseed), preservatives, starch, water, and flavorings.
Eating in restaurants, especially those with cheap food that most working people frequent (such as pizzerias, fast food hamburgers, Chinese restaurants or other similar establishments) does not improve the outlook. And the same happens when buying precooked foods and other ultra-processed foods.
How is it possible to buy a hamburger or a meat lasagna so cheap?
It is because, apart from being made and served thanks to ultraprecarious work, they usually contain more disguised garbage than real food. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends reducing the consumption of these foods, since there are scientific studies that have linked the consumption of processed meats (such as bacon, sausages, mortadella and choped or nuggets, among others) with an increased risk of cancer or cardiovascular disease.
Speaking of meats, the packaged cold cuts section, and especially lean meats like turkey, are a scary hoax. The so-called "turkey breasts" that they sell to us in cold cuts have less than 50% turkey meat and are more of a preparation of starch, water and flavorings such as glutamate. There is higher quality dog food. Choosing between white brands and other brands does not change anything. Most of the well-known brands become more expensive as a result of their greater investment in advertising or attractive packaging design. However, their quality is usually similar and, in some cases, even lower.
Why is junk food cheaper than a healthy diet?
Industrial processes, globalization and, more specifically, capitalism, have led to this happening. Working people do not need to be healthy, just that we eat anything to continue producing and not lose heart. Just enough so that we do not collapse from chronic diseases an increasingly underfunded healthcare.
We could also talk about packaged juices or milk; abuses of the entire industrial chain of agricultural, fishing or livestock production; of the amounts of sugar in cereals, cookies or articles aimed at the smallest ... only to redound to the question of how it is produced and consumed under capitalism, a toxic system with life and the environment that has no problem in poisoning the majority of the population to maintain the benefits of a few.
They sell us junk that looks like healthy food at a low price to fill our stomachs and, from legislators to supermarkets to each of the intermediaries in this chain, they all contribute to keeping the industry running. We lost the primary producers, the workers of the intermediary companies and the vast majority of consumers.
In short, we lose all working people, a majority of society gripped by the clamp that low wages and the high cost of eating something that is not garbage generate.
Despite having disciplined us with commodification, it has not been able to make us completely forget local foods, with a distributed and non-industrial production. Our desire to eat real, tasty and good quality food remains. This desire is so clear that capitalism itself has adapted to try to profit from healthy food by turning it into another line of the supermarket, that of organic or organic products. This is nothing more than a substitute (at a high price) for what other forms of production and social relations offer us. An example of this are consumer groups organized to eliminate intermediaries between producers and consumers of production, and that promote agroecological practices. Another example is the subsistence of a certain gift economy far from the cities, where neighbors give each other potatoes, peppers or other products left over from the harvest and that they prefer to share before they go bad.
Far from idealizing a past prior to the almost absolute triumph of the market economy, the objective today is to build new practices around the desire to eat well, locally, without toxic products or unhealthy additives and without destroying the environment. The left, especially the anarchists, have been proposing for years an alternative based on local consumption, food sovereignty, agroecology, vegetarian or vegan diets, conscious consumption ...
Principles and forms of consumption and production that allow not only a healthier diet, but above all a healthier relationship between people, with other living beings and with the environment in which we live. Boosting consumer groups, urban gardens or even a return to rural areas are only small steps against the current, while most of us working people still shop at the supermarket or junk food restaurants.
The trade union struggle, both for the improvement of working conditions and for the denunciation of unhealthy industrial practices, also allows the narrow margins of action to be widened. To challenge the market economy for hegemony over our food, as over many other rights, is going to require audacity and a multitude of joint strategies.
By Liberty Cravan. With no more relation to the boxer poet than his condition as a deserter, thief, liar and ghost. Anti-dogmatic communist, radical ecologist and counterculture renegade. Firm defender of the fact that, without the existence of a rebellious, critical and coherent thought that knows how to communicate, a radical state of opinion is impossible and therefore, the party of the revolution has no possibility of being formed.