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The true cost of food is far higher than what you spend at the checkout counter

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on The Conversation or enjoy below:

🗞️ Driving the news: Retail food price inflation is showing signs of slowing down, offering relief to consumers, particularly those in low-income households
• However, a deeper look into the agrifood system reveals hidden costs far exceeding what's paid at the store, driven by environmental, health, and social impacts

🔭 The context: The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization's SOFA 2023 report uses true cost accounting to reveal that the global agrifood system's costs in 2020 were up to US$12.7 trillion more than retail prices, highlighting significant externalities not accounted for in traditional pricing

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: Environmental costs, such as nitrogen runoff, ammonia emissions, deforestation, and methane production from food waste, constitute a significant portion of the hidden costs, emphasizing the urgent need for sustainable practices in food production and consumption

⏭️ What's next: True cost accounting presents an opportunity for reevaluating and redirecting agricultural subsidies towards more sustainable, equitable, and efficient production methods
• This shift could reduce the hidden costs of food production and support a transition to practices that offer net-positive benefits for the environment and society

💬 One quote: "A true cost accounting approach can illuminate the need for multidimensional solutions," - Director, Swette Center for Sustainable Food Systems at Arizona State University.

📈 One stat: The global cost of the agrifood system in 2020 was up to $12.7 trillion more than what consumers paid, equivalent to about 10% of global GDP or $5 per person per day worldwide.

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