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Are we becoming food racists?

The definition for racism, according to Google is the “prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one's own race is superior.”

If we swapped the word race with diet then we are not that far off what is the equivalent of racism, in what could be called Foodism or Foodists. People get pretty passionate today about where their food comes from. Whether it’s made in alignment with our values and whether the type of food we eat reflects those values. We have so many food/diet movements today its hard to keep up but here are a few well known ones:

  • Vegan

  • Vegetarian

  • Pescatarian

  • Paleo

  • Raw

  • Flexitarian

  • Atkins

  • Keto

  • Organic

The term diet (also in the nutritional sense) might be derived from earlier Latin diaeta transcribing Classical Greek δίαιτα diaita, meaning "way of living”, which is where the value alignment comes in. While I think it is great that we connect and care so strongly about what we eat and how that food is produced, I wonder whether it is breeding a new type of prejudice in our society. How our food is produced is rapidly changing as values dictate the market and technology provides alternative solutions and efficiencies, and the traditional farming sector, seems to keep falling short in the public eye. While they adapt and readapt as the goal posts change, there seems to be a certain level of discrimination happening towards those in the production line. Whether you’re growing it, fertilising it, killing it, shipping it, eating it or wasting it you’re part of a “way of life” that is starting to be perceived as inferior to those following a more moral diet. What we eat, has become a defining moment of our century. It touches everything, cultures and societies, environment and climate, activism, livelihoods, innovation, politics, and economics. The polarising views on what is good clean eating and how we feed the starving and growing population is starting to show cracks in the traditional value chain. No part of food production is safe from the moral audit. While certain values make sense and need to be met in food production, such as the environment, animal welfare etc, I wonder whether we’re heading towards a day where you will be ostracised from your community for choosing grass fed beef over lab grown beef? Or whether your partner doesn’t want to have children with you because of your choice to eat genetically engineered produce?

Extreme maybe, but possible. Foodism could be the new racism of the next century if we are not careful in how we adapt to the future of food.

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