Why Are Twinkies Cheaper than Carrots?

I came across this video online yesterday. It simply addresses the reasons (unreasonable as they may be)  that “health food is expensive” while cheap, processed garbage food is more affordable (… at the time).

1) I do not think whole foods are expensive*, or that eating healthy has to be. One of the missions of STK! is to show people how to use ingredients most people are familiar with or can find easily and affordable to make meals, when they may otherwise think of vegetables as a side dish only.

*Whole plant foods can be incredibly affordable especially if bought in season and/or from a local market.


2) I would never be so presumptuous to make a statement like “People should spend money on better food and less on XYZ”. I may believe that, but I also know that I have a different lifestyle from a single mom working three low-wage jobs; a wealthy businessman who can go to Whole Foods for all organic food; a teenager living and thus eating according to the rules of her parents. We are all at different places in our lives financially: I aim to put forth meals that can be made, and/or adapted, to fit most budgets.


3) A perceived “problem” with whole foods is that people don’t know what to do with them. So we can encourage someone to spend what money they have on greens, grains, dried beans, etc… but then they actually have to eat them or the money and nutrition is wasted.  Cooking education must go hand-in-hand when buying better food is the mission.

What we think of as "cheap food" can still cost a lot of money.

Cooking from whole foods can be MUCH more affordable, as long as one knows HOW to cook with them. (*STK doesn't advocate consumption of dairy or meat as shown in this photo)

But all that said, it’s still truth that we live in a world of 99cent “Value” menus that provide a lot of calories for a little money.

If you’ve ever seen Food Inc., you may recall a scene in which a low income family travels to the grocery store with a limited budget. They pick up a bag of apples, then agree they can buy one whole meal from a fast food chain for the same amount of money as the apples. They put the apples down. In the next scene they are eating their fast food meals in the car on the drive home.

And that scene illustrated an unfortunate truth: sometimes the worst food is much cheaper than the most basic foods.

It doesn’t make any sense.

It’s enraging, horrible, disgusting. It’s completely backwards.

In less than four minutes, this video explains why it happens:

“How is it that something with 39 different ingredients can be cheaper than something you just pull out of the ground?”

You can visit Calpirg.org or CLICK HERE to send an electronic message to the Senator to stop junk food subsidies.


9 thoughts on “Why Are Twinkies Cheaper than Carrots?

  1. I wholeheartedly agree, eating healthy can fit in anyone’s budget. There is also the other side of the coin that most people don’t think about when they decide what to buy, the hidden cost of the ‘cheap’ food. It is so much more expensive to treat the diseases caused by this junk than just prevent them with healthy whole food. When you think of it that way, it is not difficult to make the right choice.

    • So, so true Ula. It gets a little tougher to say that when someone’s food budget is $40 a week for a family. But that’s where the education part comes in. I hope more people continue to see ways they can make better, still desirable choices, that will save them money now AND later. Thank you for writing 🙂

  2. Super, and true, post, Jaime. I couldn’t agree with you more in all that you say. This morning I was thinking I should google the history of processed foods, and then along came your post. People got to this place unwittingly, and now everyone knows we have to get out of this jam; it’s just a matter of time and education.

    • The food industry in some ways hits just like the industrial revolution. As in, things since the beginning of time were always done a certain way, and them BAM! 200 years ago (approx. for sake of this point) we started to make vehicles, glass windows, electricity came along, assembly lines… and almost EVERYTHING we are used to in our daily lives literally did not exist before that revolution, for as long as the world was here. Isn’t that crazy?

      And modern farming/food is much the same way. Our grandparents or parents tell stories about “Back in my day, on the farm..” because as little as 50-60 years ago, that was the norm. We are in a really weird time when “food” is made up of chemicals, literally chemicals in a laboratory… like, you wouldn’t go and chug a bunch of window cleaner, but look at what we eat! And now THAT is the norm. It’s an interesting time to be alive in the scope of food politics, that’s for certain. Thanks for commenting 🙂

  3. That’s a great little video! I shall post it to my FB page and see what my friends say.

    I have to admit, I think twinkies are kinda awesome. They have their place, you know? Well, for me they do. But I don’t want a twinkie every day! Nor do I want to subsidize twinkies for kids who would be way better off eating an apple or carrot. In my opinion, Congress (and pretty much all of our elected officials) is motivated soley by dollars. It’s sad and greedy. It would totally depress me if it weren’t for good people like you attempting to help people understand their food choices. Thanks for all your work making people care about what they choose to buy and eat.

    Also, check out LVCI’s recent post on farm subsidies:

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