Food at what Energy Cost?

by Briton Lee

In a developed society such as in the U.S., there are many things that we take for granted; chief among them being food. The consumer is divorced from how the food reaches the shelves, as well as the labor/energy costs that go into the process. The food industry is heavily energy-consumptive, and while energy consumption per capita may have fallen by 1 percent from 2002 to 2007, food-related energy use increased about 8 percent as more energy-intensive technologies were developed to produce food for our increasing population (Schwartz 2011). In fact, about 80% of the increase in annual U.S. energy consumption is food-related. Some of the significant ways energy is consumed in food production include fossil fuels needed to power machines, synthesis of crop fertilizers, and supplying/transferring water (Biederman 2015). Continue reading