This report outlines the true cost of food, which includes the impacts on our health, the environment, biodiversity, livelihoods, and much more. With this new analysis, governments, advocates, corporations, and individuals are better equipped to catalyze the change needed to develop a truly nourishing, equitable, and sustainable food system in the United States.
The True Cost of Food in the U.S.
In the U.S., food costs more than our receipt at the grocery checkout. Our food system rings up immense “hidden costs” from its impact on human health, the environment, and social and economic inequity.
Consider this: In 2019, American consumers spent an estimated $1.1 trillion on food. That price tag includes the cost of producing, processing, retailing, and wholesaling the food we buy and eat. It does not include the cost of healthcare for the millions who fall ill with diet-related diseases. Nor does $1.1 trillion include the present and future costs of the food system’s contributions to water and air pollution, reduced biodiversity, or greenhouse gas emissions, which cause climate change. Take those costs into account and it becomes clear the true cost of the U.S. food system is at least three times as big—$3.2 trillion per year.