T Nation

Cost of Health Food Vs Fast Food


Is health food more expensive than Fast Food for the Economy?

I've always wondered this and never asked the question.

I know the fast food industry makes billions and all, as does other places that make processes foods. But is it alot cheaper to make crap food than organic foods. Or is the money so good for corporations that they'd rather stick with what they've got..


your statement is correct, but it is not only limited to fast food, products that are quik and easy to make like cereal, pizza pops...ect.. are all very inexpensive.

there have been many concerns regarding this issue and plans are being discussed, such as putting a tax on fast food.


Part of it is supply and demand - the demand for garbage food is greater, so you make more of it. Therefore the cost is less per serving.


While I know you're correct, that statement just sickens me. Amazing that more people want to eat like crap than not...


Depends. Im sure highly processed food food is still fairly cheap. But as someone who was constantly buying fast food i think its cheaper to eat healthy.

Say a lunch. You go out, buy burger, bottle of coke and a snack later in the day. When you tally up the price (i did) i could of gone out and bought a Kilo of steak. Which is a good 5 meals for me.

But then i also put a value on being healthy.


It is definitely cheaper to eat healthy at home than to eat crap on the street, but the OP was referring to corporate economy, not to people's personal economy.


Also, don't forget to factor in the cost of preparation for fast food. The cost of the restaurant also is added on. However, healthy food you cook yourself, and the mortgage company gets your check as well. So, I would wonder what the wholesale costs are when compared.


Unfortunately i'd have to say fast food is 2 things:
Cheaper and faster.

Demographically, the poorer areas of cities are typically the least healthy...and a big reason for that is the number of fast food chains is these communities.

The cheapest ingredients in the world are processed flour, corn syrup, salt and fat.
So in order for McDonalds and what not to keep their profit margins as high as possible, guess what is going to make up the vast majority of that they have on the menu?

Also, people just crave what they know, and what fits into their definition of "normal".

It's not AS expensive as some might think to eat healthier, but it does take a bit more money and a LOT more effort....than most people...or governments...are willing to invest.


The world's economy is based on bigger, faster, cheaper ways of doing things. Fast food is universal in that it fills all three of those requirements. I don't want to get all conspiracy theory on you, but if all of the fast food places started making healthly food, a lot of doctor's would be out of business, etc. So what may be better for your health is not as good for the global economy.

To the OP- yes fast food is cheaper to mass produce.


Depends on what fast foods you eat, If you're talking 2 McChickens for $2.12 then yes it's cheaper than a healthy complete meal. If you talking a #7 with a supersize fry and Mcflurry then no. For the price of that you could get 3 chicken breasts, 4 lbs of broccili and a pint of milk. Believe it or not I've seen 1 person spend $18 on one meal at McDonalds and claim they ate the same thing twice daily. Blew my mind. $36 bucks on absolute shit every day.


But insurance balances out... like paying gym memberships to corporations who have insurance on thier employees.

The fact is that the way we consume now is damaging to the world, so either we reduce growth slightly now in terms of energy use and such or we'll end up taking a kick to the nuts in 40-50 years from now.


You really think so? I douobt our insurance would be any cheaper if everyone was healthier. Healthcare costs have gone up due to liability and malpractice insurance cost rises, not because it costs more to treat fat people.

What do you mean "the way we consume now is damaging"? Eating shitty food is only damaging to the individual. So how is that going to kick us all in the nuts in 40-50 years. IMO, regardless of what type of food is being prepared in a restaurant, fast food or otherwise, the energy usage would be the same.

Also- you do realize they were saying the same thing 40-50 years ago, and we're still alive and breathing. Most energy crisis you hear about are blown way out of proportion and are hyped up to serve a political purpose or justify an agency's existence. Some of the info is justified, i.e. global warming, but the statistics aren't very realistic. So what if in 100 years the average temperature goes up one degree. I live in the midwest- it can fluctuate 100 degrees in less than 24 hours.

That actually happened a couple years ago by the way- 9am it was in the 90's and a cold front came in and the temperature dropped, briefly, below zero by 10pm that night. (Granted it was January and 90 was unseasonably warm...)


I agree, on an individual scale it's less expensive to eat healthier. Even with what I spend on food (and most of it's not organic, but it's whole-not processed) I would easily spend twice as much if I purchased my workday meals.


Does anyone else find it ironic that its cheaper to make food with a ton of chemicals than it is to make natural food?


Yes, but it makes sense.

As an example, the beef industry.

What will cost more: grass-fed cows on acres and acres of land OR huge mutant cows, pumped with HGH, boxed into cages, fed by machines whatever feed is available at the cheapest price?


The initial cost of fast food is cheaper on average versus what we would consider healthy food. However, over the long run fast food would/could cost more because of the ramifications on health.

In the future, this upcoming plague which could wipe off who knows how much of the earth's population will more than likely affect those who are not in how we say optimal health. It's not a secret that those who are sedentary & eat poorly have worse immune systems than those in the opposite category.

Guess who will die first? So how's that for costing more?


Actually, cost in the real sense of the word it is more expensive. You have to think of the word in it's broader sense, though. Cost is not just capital but also labor, time and resources.

Also, economics encorporates more than just industry. It also has to do with the flow of resources and services and all the influences and effects created by that flow.

To the fast-food industry it is quite cheap which is why they are in business but it comes at a cost in other ways to the public. I am sure you can think of ways that it costs the public more than just money to support the fast-food industry; for example, environmental, sociological, health.


depends on how you look at it I think...I personally think the cost of fast food on the economy is way higher in the long run. Just think of how much energy someone who eats clean all the time has as opposed to someone who eats junk. They think clearer, are more healthy in general so they miss less work, then on the other hand when your average lard ass who eats fried chicken all day misses work because of a heart attack it costs both the place he works for and the health care system.


Depends what you consider healthy food. I know that relatively I spend quite a bit on food because my diet is high in protein.

When you start putting in supplements etc it gets fairly pricey.

But hey. Thats just what it costs.


i dont kno what you guys are talking about eatting healthy being close to the same price from a personal standpoint. My budget has more than doubled since i started eatting good. If you want good quality meats, milk, and grains then you'll be spending a ton of money. it aint cheap bein healthy. and as to the OP, its a tough question.

While the world is probably wealthier because of fast food it is also dying at a considerable rate. The amount of meat required to fill the diets of the typical obese american is taking a huge toll on this planet. But then again if we were all healthy wouldnt we just have other problems to deal with like an overpopulated planet?

I say let the unhealthy folk die, we'll be better off for it. Smoking and obesity are just forms of population control, embrace the world that you shall inherit.