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View Diary: Sad, but True: Cheetos Cost Less Than Apples (40 comments)

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  •  Other considerations (4+ / 0-)

    Some portion of the cost of junk food is defrayed by corn subsidies (corn syrup, of course, but also as a foodstuff).  However, as pointed out upstream, it is simply cheaper to produce and the factory can maintain a very wide supply chain, so they don't need to worry about how fast apple orchards grow up.

    At the same time, the local groceries here are well stocked with organic snacks.  They even taste like junk food (actually better, because they aren't full of soybean oil, their salt is at a somewhat manageable level, and that cheese flavor is real cheese.  You'd think that the genius of the American food processing industry could be redirected toward making versions of that sort of food (which tends not to spoil, and which has a lot of calories) that's healthy.  The cost advantage of junk food is that it can be transported more efficiently, and has a longer shelf life.

    It is also a matter of volume.  Most snack manufacturing shares relatively common processes, and can be done in high volume.  Thus, they can tolerate low margins (by contrast, those Cheetos are profitable for retailers).

    One possibility: set up a fruit (or veggie or whatever) distribution cooperative that handles all of the distribution and detailing (e.g., they get rid of the old produce and replace it).  The cooperative doesn't need to be profitable; it is there as a marketing vehicle for farmers on one side, and a way for a small merchant do get the big boys' supply chain capabilities on the retail side.

    Now, that leaves one question.  How is it that Wisconsin, of all places (a place where grown up adults decorate themselves to look like blocks of cheese) is decreeing that one of their biggest food products should be denied to public assistance recipients?  The places with a lot of dairy farmers also have a lot of red voters.  One has to assume that the outpatients have overrun the entire state.  But the loons are right about one thing; there are hostile aliens on earth, and one of the most hostile such extraterrestrials currently sits in the governor's office in Madison.

    •  As to your last question, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SadieSue, FloridaSNMOM

      how cheese could be labelled as a junk food, you'll need to ask the Republican zealots and the Democrats who went along with it.  Frankly, I'll never understand how they don't realize that nearly all the cheese bought in this state is produced here.  Maybe they hate dairy farmers and cheese makers now, too?

      My biggest beef, so to speak, is with the food deserts and overpriced convenience stores that poor people have to use.  It exacerbates their problems with making that food stamp dollar stretch and even if they can find decent food, it's usually not too great and vastly overprced.  So, an apple costs a lot more than cheetos at the grocery store, but is likely twice as expensive at the local stop 'n shop.

      And it's a whole lot cheaper (not to mention time saving) to feed the family McDonalds rather than to cook a better meal at home.

      These are the heart of the problems that need to be overcome.

      There already is class warfare in America. Unfortunately, the rich are winning.

      by Puddytat on Mon Jun 03, 2013 at 09:30:56 PM PDT

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      •  A Dollar General Market moved into my neighborhood (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SadieSue, Puddytat, FloridaSNMOM

        It was placed in a area that the poorest end of town could access it by walking or bus.  It has a small meat counter, produce, baked goods and dairy and freezer food at reasonable prices.  The grocery section is only a third of the store and the rest is dollar store stuff.  All the basics are there and they have specials every week.  Some of the products are name brand.  It has been open less then a year.  I hope this becomes a trend across the country.  

      •  A couple of points: (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SadieSue, Puddytat

        The cheese restrictions almost identically mimic the ones from WIC, which are there purely for cost concerns I believe rather than nutritional ones.

        And, McDonald's doesn't really enter into food stamps conversations. You can't buy McDonald's with food stamps. Very few of us who are on food stamps can afford to feed the family McDonald's because it's NOT cheaper (it costs me about $25-$30 for one meal at McDonald's at full price if I'm feeding everyone, that's $5-$6 per person), at least once the kids are beyond toddler age. Time saving, yes, cheaper no. And yes, we try to be able to afford to let our kids have McDonald's once in a while as a treat, or as a reward for being good after hours on the bus to get groceries, or because the trip to the grocery store takes so long and they get hungry and McDonald's is a convenient way of feeding them at that point. But it's not paid for by food stamps, and there are a lot of times when we just can't afford it. The only reason we can afford it as often as we do is because Caedy works there and gets 50% off, and then it's not for the whole family it's for whomever is walking to the store, usually about 3 of us.

        "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

        by FloridaSNMOM on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 06:44:08 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Your points are well taken (0+ / 0-)

          The use of McDonalds comes into play when the food stamps run out, the food pantries are bare, and a family has just a bit of money from a paycheck to spend.  It's cheaper to wander into McDonalds and eat off the dollar menu than purchase and prepare a meal at home.

          As to those WIC requirements - yes, those are the ones in play and it's stupid for them to use those for the general food stamp program because those requirements are meant for pregnant or nursing mothers and children under 5 years old.  They were never, ever meant to serve the nutritional needs of the general population.

          The cheeses restricted by WIC due to "cost" don't come into play here in Wisconsin since our cheese is always local and, therefore, less expensive than cheese across the nation that goes through processors, transportation, etc. all adding to the cost of the final product because each corporation MUST have large profits according to their God of the Almighty Dollar.  Our cheese is very cheap as a result, often direct to market from the cheese maker.  However, Republicans are none to smart and don't make rational choices.

          There already is class warfare in America. Unfortunately, the rich are winning.

          by Puddytat on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 12:23:27 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It's not cheaper to eat from the dollar menu. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Puddytat, rubyr

            You're still talking $3 per person plus tax usually. And that's hardly enough to fill most teens. For a family of four that's $12. I can get pork chops for $7 to feed five, if I can get them buy one get one, that's $3.50 for the bulk of the meal, add in a box of mac-n-cheese for 3/$2 and a can of veggies for $1. It's still cheaper than McDonald's.

            The cases where people wander into McDonald's for dinner instead of buying and cooking at home has more to do with lack of time, or lack of a kitchen rather than 'cheaper'. But most of us on food stamps don't have the cash for McDonald's.

            "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

            by FloridaSNMOM on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 12:28:26 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

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