The Health and Climate Consequences of the American Food System Cost Three Times as Much as the Food Itself

Laura Reiley

The true cost of food is even higher than you think, a new report out Thursday says.

The US spends $1.1 trillion a year on food. But when the impacts of the food system on different parts of our society — including rising health care costs, climate change and biodiversity loss — are factored in, the bill is around three times that, according to a report by the Rockefeller Foundation, a private charity that funds medical and agricultural research.


Advocacy groups hailed the Rockefeller report. Paula Daniels, co-founder of the Center for Good Food Purchasing [who was also an advisor on the report] said the report pulls back the veil on the hidden costs of food.

“If an organic apple is 99 cents and a sugary beverage is also 99 cents, there are layers of subsidies in that sugary beverage. We need to examine not only what we’re paying, but what that price reflects, the subsidized cost and the external costs — diabetes, obesity; you can quantify the health impacts,” she said.

Read the full article at The Washington Post (article is behind a paywall).