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The “High Price of Cheap Food”

Cheap and tasty, but at what cost?

We really liked Brian Walsh’s article from the August issue of Time magazine, Getting Real About the High Price of Cheap Food, and feel it’s very relevant to our methods at Vital Farms.,8599,1917458-1,00.html

In detailing what is mostly pretty grim news, the author provides a litany of the ways in which American food consumers are on the losing end of a pretty sketchy transaction – by ingesting food products that are cheap, but also bring enormous health, environmental, and societal costs. Take the corn industry for example:

But cheap food is not free food, and corn comes with hidden costs. The crop is heavily fertilized — both with chemicals like nitrogen and with subsidies from Washington. Over the past decade, the Federal Government has poured more than $50 billion into the corn industry, keeping prices for the crop — at least until corn ethanol skewed the market — artificially low. That’s why McDonald’s can sell you a Big Mac, fries and a Coke for around $5 — a bargain, given that the meal contains nearly 1,200 calories, more than half the daily recommended requirement for adults. “Taxpayer subsidies basically underwrite cheap grain, and that’s what the factory-farming system for meat is entirely dependent on,” says Gurian-Sherman.

This is especially relevant to the egg industry, as many farms feed their chickens this low-grade, genetically modified, hormone-filled version of corn to their chickens. The resulting eggs are not only uniform and flavorless, but also represent a nutritional compromise for egg eaters.

On our Better Egg page you can read about how pasture-raised hens transfer their natural diet into their eggs in a myriad of ways. We’re proud to say that every Vital Farms egg is produced without using processed or “enhanced” ingredients like GMO corn (or hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, or herbicides). While we’d love for our feed costs to be artificially lowered, that would mean we’d have to reduce the quality of the perfect little super-food our hens produce.