• Thu. Feb 22nd, 2024

Food As Medicine’s Big Business Opportunity

Here’s one fix for the food system: actually acknowledge how much everything costs. Currently, food is both too expensive and too cheap, and it’s hard to put a comprehensive price tag on just how much the food industry shunts down the line to, for example, the health insurance, pharmaceutical and medical industries as a result of diet-driven diseases.

One report from the Rockefeller Foundation pegs the impact on health and the environment to consumers and taxpayers as carrying a true cost of more than $2 trillion every year. I think about that eye-popping number often. That’s why another recently published report from the Foundation, along with Tufts University, caught my eye this week.

If patients on Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance with diet-related conditions like diabetes ate food nutritionally designed to stimulate their recovery, an estimated 1.6 million hospitalizations could be avoided annually. There could even be an estimated net savings of $13.6 billion in healthcare costs in the first year alone.

Produce prescriptions, nutritionist-formulated meals and more are all on the table. Now that’s a big business opportunity.

— Chloe Sorvino, Staff Writer


Order my book, Raw Deal: Hidden Corruption, Corporate Greed and the Fight for the Future of Meat, out now from Simon & Schuster’s Atria Books.


This is Forbes’ Fresh Take newsletter, which every Friday brings you the latest on the big ideas changing the future of food. Want to get it in your inbox every week? Sign up here.


Sustainability Leaders Summit

There was a healthy mix of hope and realism at Forbes’ Sustainability Leaders Summit, and my panel all about the future of food—with farmer Lee Jones of Chef’s Garden, Monarch Tractor cofounder Carlo Mondavi and Cargill’s Pilar Cruz—had the crowd laughing, cheering and appropriately stressing. There were even a few jaws agape.

Jones shared his plans to take his Ohio farm off the energy grid by 2025, while Mondavi described how electrifying crucial farm machinery can not only cut emissions but also reduce the chemicals sprayed. Cruz explained how Cargill’s scale, as America’s largest private company, can be deployed to create meaningful change at scale, quickly. All of these adaptations and a whole lot more will be necessary to put to work. Between flooding, extreme heat, drought and record-breaking storms, crops are struggling. That’s right now—not far off and away in 2050.

What’s Fresh

From MasterChef To Top Creator: How Nick DiGiovanni Became YouTube’s Favorite Chef

More than 12 million people subscribe to Nick DiGiovanni’s YouTube channel to watch the young chef crack open a 70-pound wheel of cheese, conduct a burger battle with Shaquille O’Neal, and make the world’s largest chicken nugget.

Caffeinated Gum Picks Up Steam As Lance Armstrong-Backed Rev Raises $6 Million To Expand Retail Presence

Chewing gum is a $33.1 billion global business, but concerns over their negative environmental impact and a lack of innovation have taken a toll on the category. But gum products boosted with functional benefits have been making waves, and Rev Energy Gum is the new kid on the block.

Rampant Heat Waves Are A Growing Threat To Caribbean Food Security

Record-breaking heat that has been beating down on the Caribbean for the past few months poses a grave threat to regional food security.

What Is Saltwater Intrusion? Gulf Of Mexico Invading Louisiana’s Drinking Water As Drought Drains Mississippi River

About 885,030 southeast Louisiana residents’ drinking water could be harmed by saltwater intrusion.

California Fast Food Workers Secure $20 Minimum Wage—Highest In The U.S.

Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a law Thursday that will ensure state fast food workers are paid at least $20 an hour, making it the highest minimum wage of any state in the country.


Field Notes

Meet garleeks! This alluring new breed of alliums is a mix between two of my favorites: tangy garlic and sweet leeks. Just launched from Chef Dan Barber’s flavor-focused seed company Row 7.

Thanks for reading the 86th edition of Forbes Fresh Take! Let me know what you think. Subscribe to Forbes Fresh Take here.


Chloe Sorvino leads coverage of food and agriculture as a staff writer on the enterprise team at Forbes. Her book, Raw Deal: Hidden Corruption, Corporate Greed and the Fight for the Future of Meat, published on December 6, 2022, with Simon & Schuster’s Atria Books. Her nearly nine years of reporting at Forbes has brought her to In-N-Out Burger’s secret test kitchen, drought-ridden farms in California’s Central Valley, burnt-out national forests logged by a timber billionaire, a century-old slaughterhouse in Omaha and even a chocolate croissant factory designed like a medieval castle in northern France.

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