As a consumer, I often find myself buying packaged foods without even stopping to consider what the ingredients in the products actually are. When shopping and comparing products, I rarely take the time to question how natural the “all natural” flavors advertised on the labels are or how the additives and preservatives used are produced. To be more informed about the food choices I am making and the impact their production has on the environment, I tracked the food I consumed for one day and researched what the ingredients where, how they are processed, and the locations that my food came from.
I tracked a pretty typical day for myself, in which I had coffee for breakfast, soup for lunch, and then meat, potatoes, and vegetables for supper. I try to limit the amount of processed food I consume by increasing the number of raw fruits and vegetables I eat. I expected processed foods to have more of an environmental impact, but I did not consider how even unprocessed foods can require many resources to produce. I found that most of the vegetables and fruits I ate had to be transported hundreds or thousands of miles before they ended up on my plate. For example, the celery and walnuts I had for lunch were grown in California, then sent to a Walmart distribution center, and then to the local store I purchased it from (Walmart.com). Because I buy almost all of my food at chain stores like Walmart, the supply chain of my food is not very direct. Many of the foods I tracked contained ingredients that were grown far away then processed in plants before the product is finished being produced and sent to stores. An ingredient in many of the foods I consume that exemplifies this is sugar cane. I discovered that Brazil ...
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...rmation provided concerns me by making me feel as though producers are trying to hide what is actually in their products. I would prefer if producers would put the scientific and common names of the additives and preservatives used in products on the labels, so that it is easier to consumers to understand what they are buying without having to look up the ingredients themselves.
In America, where processed foods are convenient and abundant, it is easy to buy and consume these products without considering what is involved in their production. Consumers should take the time to realize what the chemicals added to their foods are and the energy that must be used to produce each and every ingredient. Researching these topics may lead some consumers to be more conscious of what they are eating and how many resources are unnecessarily used when they waste these products.
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