With the rise of large supermarkets and the global economy, the number of food options has grown exponentially. You can now find pretty much anything in a supermarket, anytime you want it. Yet, for all the added convenience, there is a trade off. Too often, that gets ignored. Here are two foods with backgrounds you might not want to know about.
1. Quinoa: Just five years ago, hardly anyone outside of Bolivia ate quinoa, considered by many to be the lost grain of the Incas. Then, out of nowhere it exploded. People in rich countries in North America and Europe suddenly developed a real taste for the crop and began demanding it as an export. The global market responded and quinoa prices more than tripled in five years. That increase has meant more money for the local farmers of Bolivia that grow it, but also means fewer Bolivians can actually afford to buy quinoa. In fact, young children in the regions where quinoa grows now turn to cheap, processed foods, and that has led to a wave of malnutrition.
Admittedly, another part of the problem comes from changing palates among younger people. They no longer prefer the taste of quinoa and would rather drink products like Coca Cola. Still, this comment from an economist to The New York Times is quite crass: “It’s kind of discouraging to see stuff like this happen, but that’s part of life and economics." As long as you're making money, right buddy?
2) Chickens: If you're looking for a reason to convince people that eating chicken is bad, look no further. A new scientific study shows that chickens are capable of feeling empathy. They can feel another's pain, which is a key component of feeling compassion. To complete the research, scientists exposed young chicks to puffs of air. They showed signs of distress, which their mothers then mirrored. Their heart rates increased as their eye temperature lowered— considered by many to be classic signs of stress.
The results are particularly important because of how chickens live on farms. They often will encounter stressful conditions or will be placed in such conditions by their owners.