[extropy-chat] evolution of food
bryan.moss at dsl.pipex.com
Wed Aug 18 10:47:18 UTC 2004
>Extrapolate this trend into the future. Is there any
>reason to believe that food is as good as it will ever
>get? Why? If it continues to get ever more irresistible
>as time goes on, what scenarios can we imagine? Will flab
>continue to overtake an ever larger percentage of people?
>Or will we eventually reverse course and demand less tasty
>foods? Will better nutrition education help? Will more
>and more people perish of diabetes and weight related
>heart disease, or will it soon level off?
Food is hard. Creating food is still an unsolved problem; we're still
learning. As with most things, our initial reaction to the problem of
the inadequacy of (processed/fast) food has been nostalgia: we want
people to go back to the old way of doing things. I think, however,
that fast food is a genuinely positive development. Food preparation
is difficult, arduous, and requires a great deal of knowledge. Fast
food is no less great a development than, say, the introduction of the
washing machine; it just has some wrinkles that need to be ironed out.
I think, for the most part, as we solve the problems the solutions will
be taken up by industry: if it was healthy to eat McDonalds every day,
they'd have more customers than they do now. It's a straightforward
I think also that it's primarily the fact that McDonalds et al can't
reach the larger, more health-conscious, middle-class demographic now
that causes them to take the strategy of foisting large portions of food
on the unfortunate demographic they can reach (i.e., the poor and people
in a hurry). As fast food is able to serve more of the population
(i.e., relatively wealthy return customers), the incentives to tailor
food toward addiction and inadequancy of fulfilment drop off.
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