More and more consumers and businesses (and other institutions such as schools and hospitals that utilize business-like practices) are starting to wake-up to the shortsightedness of choosing foods purely based on price. And this is in everyone's interest. Reducing the rates of obesity and other preventable chronic conditions among students and employees can have significant impact on healthcare and payroll costs. In fact, when all the costs such as health care, loss of productivity and cost of replacement are taken into consideration, providing students, patients and employees with healthful and sustainable food offers a very attractive return on investment.
And the food service industry is responding by increasingly sourcing sustainably and preparing healthfully — our free-market system is actually quite efficient. These companies and their clients recognize the value in taking a leadership role in favor of higher quality, more nutritious food and beverages. Another reason for optimism is that food service is increasingly becoming a competitive differentiation for a growing number of schools and employers when it comes to recruiting the best and the brightest, who are often the same individuals that value the longer-term implications of the food and beverages they consume.
Business is the most powerful force on the planet. If we make our food choices based on total cost, and not simply lowest cost, business will respond and give us exactly what we want. After all, it is probably less complicated than getting a man on the moon!
Lawrence Williams is a former executive with SpaceX and is currently the president of the United States Healthful Food Council, a non-profit, non-governmental organization dedicated to fighting obesity, diabetes and other food related diseases.