Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Why food is cheap....

Saw this article in the Washington Post titled "Gut Check: When Food Is Discounted, Consumers Should Ask Why".

It's an interesting morning read, basically a synopsis of a book that just came out. The article talks about the different forces contributing to changes in food prices, and uses the price of shrimp as an example of not-completely-understood forces affecting the price. This line jumped out at me during that discussion of cheap shrimp:

While a traditional shrimp pond yielded 450 pounds of shrimp per acre, the industrialized shrimp farms produce 89,000 pounds per acre.

That's amazing, and it makes you wonder exactly how that $2.99/$3.33lb shrimp that's mentioned in today's N&O "frugal feasts" post gets to be that cheap, and how differently it might taste from either wild shrimp or the low-intensity shrimp farm.

The book that Ezra Klein (the article's author, and a great blogger in his own right) is writing up is called "Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture", and I've already put it on my Amazon wish-list.