J500 Media and the Environment

Convenience Culture by bpirotte
January 29, 2010, 4:56 pm
Filed under: Food + Health, J500 Week 2, Society + Media | Tags: , , , , ,

I’m hungry.

But I’m also busy.

I go into my kitchen, open the fridge, and find nothing appealing. There’s some cheese, yogurt, fruit, and juices, but I’m not in the mood for something like that. I want something with more “substance.”

So, I open up the freezer. Right there, in the front, is a giant bag of frozen chicken breasts.

It seems to be staring at me, imposing a feeling of guilt over me. It’s seems to be pleading, “Don’t you remember? You JUST watched a documentary called Food, Inc. telling you about the evils of processed chicken. And Tyson was SPECIFICALLY mentioned!”

My stomach’s voice seems to overpower that of my head. I get out the bag, stick a couple on a skillet, and in just a few minutes, I’m eating chicken. How convenient.

But isn’t that our problem? We, as citizens of the modern world, have an obsession with convenience. We want to be able to eat pleasant-tasting food in a very little time. Think of fast food–you don’t care what’s in your burger. It tastes good, doesn’t it? And you got it in less than five minutes. You probably didn’t even get out of your car.

I’ve been astounded in the past few weeks hearing commercials that now boast having 100% beef in a hamburger, or 100% cheese on a pizza. WHAT HAVE I BEEN EATING?!The sad thing is, though, on that late night on my way home, I will probably stop at McDonald’s for a double cheeseburger, or order that pizza from Domino’s.

So will we be able to change our habitual want for convenience? When food advocates stress the importance on spending a few extra dollars to help the current problem, I think their emphasis should be more on what can be done to change our want/need for convenience, or cater to that convenience through healthy, unprocessed, and natural foods. Is this a possibility? I think we’re moving forward. Look at McDonald’s newer healthier choices. But the want has to start somewhere for companies to change, and we, as habitual, convenience-seeking consumers, have to be the ones to initiate.

Ben P.


4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Ben, I want you to really investigate that moment when your stomach trumped your head and you reached for the chicken. If we are going to reach people, that is where we have to intervene. What would have made you opt for a different food in that moment?
Simran Sethi

Comment by j500

Ben, I totally agree with you and have found myself in the same position at times. I think that most people do that, too. What do you think it will take to get consumers to start purchasing more organic foods instead of these contaminated foods?
Becca Nyman

Comment by beccan


I really liked your writing style in your article. It was really fun to read. It made me wonder, though: you talked about people needing to change their habits in order for the companies to want to adapt to us… but how many people do you think actually have the knowledge that we got from Food, Inc.? I have been trying to educate others about our food system since the first time I learned of our problems. But I have found that most people tell me, “I don’t want to know what is really in my food.” Do you not think that the companies need to take some of the responsibility instead of waiting for us to demand it? -Kristina B.

Comment by kristinabev

Thanks for all your comments!

Simran: If I had had the gumption to buy organic at the grocery store in the first place, I wouldn’t have had that problem. Making sure my fridge at home is stocked with easy to make, healthy foods is definitely the lesson I learned here.

Becca: Honestly, like I said in my post, marketing the products for more convenience would be a good way to get people to start purchasing those products. The truth is, though, the information needs to get out there, and that’s where movies like Food, Inc. comes in, and hopefully, what some of us as future informants will do with our careers. Without this information, no one will know how their food is processed or even truly know what “organic” means. They’ll probably continue to see the price tag and shy away from quality.

Kristina: The reason I think companies don’t take the initiative is because they don’t have to. If customers don’t care (or understand) about the process it takes to make a Twinkie, for example, the company has no incentive to change as people will continue to buy. Also, admitting they were wrong at some point is hard to do, and that is a key step into making things better. Also, I think we all have to realize at some point that the current cost of food just doesn’t factor in the real cost to both society and our environment. Once people are forced to realize this with higher prices on foods, they might begin to want to know about where their food comes from.

Ben P.

Comment by bpirotte

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