Day Thirty-One: Why Salads Cost So Much

It's got to be some sort of conspiracy. Somehow, stores like 7-11 and Wawa have been able to make a huge profit even though the items they sell -- often foods and other convenience goods -- are completely overpriced. Not even bringing in the pricing of wholesale clubs, their yogurts often fetch prices twice as high as normal supermarket prices. It's not uncommon to see bananas sell for a dollar, when a pound at any regular supermarket could cost less than 50 cents. Why are these stores able to survive in such an economy?

I think the answer's hidden underneath the layers of conception. There's no reason people would go to a gas store to buy food -- unless they were in a rush. Imagine, for a moment, that you're cruising along a highway. There's nice weather, nice sunlight, and you decide to take a look at your gas meter. Suddenly, your blood goes cold -- the little arrow is pointing strikingly near the ominous empty area. You desperately look up, hoping to find a cheap gas station nearby.

While you make your pit stop, you eye the little convenience store. You know that everything inside is bound to be overpriced, but you take a look at the refreshing soft drinks displayed in the window. The tempting bags of chips. The mouthwatering hotdogs and pizzas looking so succulent in the laminated posters. Your stomach begins to grumble...

Before you even know it, you're walking out of the store, food in tow, and ten dollars poorer than you were going in. Such is the power of convenience.

One especially notorious example is the salad. Even at fast food places, salads often fetch higher prices than their unhealthier counterparts -- burgers and fries. Trust me, I've been through this dilemma plenty of times before. For instance, McDonalds offers the McDouble at a nice and friendly $1 off their Dollar Menu. Meanwhile, the last time I checked, the cheapest salad that wasn't a side salad cost about $5 including tax. There's so much wrong about this picture, that I was bound to do some research.

The unfortunate truth is that, despite the general consensus that meat ought to cost more than vegetables and other plant-derived foods, the opposite holds true in today's market. Lower grade dairy and meat products such as cheese, hamburgers, and hotdogs, have been steadily decreasing in price over the years. Meanwhile, vegetables and fruits -- the very same foods that the federal government has been so promoting -- have only been increasing.

Although this chart may be a few years behind in the statistics, there is an obvious trend. The unhealthier foods -- butter, beer, sodas, and meats -- are far cheaper to mass produce than fresh vegetables and fresh fruits. Why so, however, when basic science calls that vegetables and fruits provide so many more nutrients for our bodies?

Our government, unfortunately, has a bad history tied into the food industry. The truth is, they have been subsidizing the meat and dairy industry far more than the fresh produce. Only in recent years has there been a boom for healthier eating, and even hardly casts a shadow on our growing health problems in America.

Have you ever heard of how corn is literally in everything? Ever since corn had begun to be mass-produced, everything the food industry has thrived on originated from that humble plant source. From high fructose corn syrup to the cheap feed for livestock and poultry, most of our government's fundings in the food department have been going towards making more and cheaper goods for the population. Goods that do not necessarily translate into healthier lifestyles.

I guess in a middle class world, the awful health rates is largely due to the decisions we make ourselves. However, don't you think there ought to be something done about the pricing of salad?

Breakfast: Hard boiled egg and Bagel
Lunch: California roll sushi
Dinner: Korean kimchi salad


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