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Hating on Big Food

Decades ago, we gave little thought to our food. But today, despite food being safer, more affordable and more available than at any time in human history, we’re increasingly skeptical and critical of today’s food system. It’s not surprising.

Food production doesn’t look like it used to. Over the past 40 years, food and agriculture companies and farms have consolidated, integrated and industrialized — they’ve become “big.” And in the minds of many, big is bad.

Annual trust research at The Center for Food Integrity  consistently shows a “big is bad” bias — a belief that mass production creates more opportunity for error, that industrialized food production is inherently impersonal and that big companies will put profit ahead of public interest every time.

In fact, in the latest survey respondents were asked to rate their level of agreement with the following statement: “Small food companies are likely to put their interests ahead of mine.” Only 26 percent strongly agree. If it’s a large food company, the percentage more than doubles: 53 percent strongly agree. The numbers were similar when we asked about small vs. large farms.

It’s a phenomenon driving change in the food system. We all want — and deserve — to know who’s producing our food — a farmer or food company that we believe is committed to doing the right things for people, animals and the planet, not just the bottom line.

Read the full article by Charlie Arnot, CEO of The Center for Food Integrity, in the Nebraska Alummi Quarterly.