Friday, March 27, 2009

Decreasing Consumption of Corn

Dr. Pollan and other foodies decry our dependence on corn. Pollan would like us to return to more traditional foodways. In that context, here's a factoid from ERS:

From 1890 until 1920, the greatest increase in food consumption occurred with sugar, and the greatest decrease was in cornmeal. Rising prosperity led to a pronounced shift from cornmeal to wheat flour, especially in the South, and an equally important substitution of sugar for wheat flour. Sugar prices had been dropping sharply since the 1850s with the development of improved refining technology.
And again:
These trends helped increase per capita wheat product consumption in the United States for the last quarter of the 20th century.
I've said before and I'll say again, when it comes to agriculture and food, things are more complicated than any party to current debates admits.

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