Topline Trends Tuesday: Food Inc.

China Product Safety


Last night I attended an advanced screening of the much talked, blogged and Twittered-about documentary Food Inc. The film opens here in Toronto on Friday, Jun. 19, just a week or two before barbecue and grilling season kicks into high gear here in Canada.

According to this New York Times article, people on the inside of food companies featured in the film think it presents misinformation. While I’m sure there are always at least two sides to every issue, I have to say that from what I saw of the movie maker’s side, I’m pretty sure that these companies have, in the oft-quoted words of TV husband Ricky Ricardo, ” a lot of ‘splainin’ to do.”

The preview screening (which Atlantis offered free to guests) was packed with adults of various ages and colours. I’d say the audience trended a bit more toward female but I didn’t do a head count. Many of the guests were, like me, professional foodies who are familiar with many of the issues the film presented.

I liked the concluding message of Food Inc very much. It was optimistic and put the burden of responsibility for forcing change in everyone’s hands by recommending that we use our purchasing power as a vote for local, sustainable and humane foods each time we shop.

My date for the movie was my 12-year old son Oliver. While having Martin Kouprie and Dana McCauley for parents automatically makes him a kid with culinary opinions and food experiences that are out of the ordinary, I was interested in his youthful response to the film.

On whether people should see this movie:
I liked this movie a lot. I think it’s good but not as good as Shark Water. It’s probably as interesting as An Inconvenient Truth but I wouldn’t take a 10-year-old to it unless they were very sophisticated. [Dana’s note: Oliver was 10 when he asked me to take him to see An Inconvenient Truth; don’t tell him this, but he was pretty sophisticated then. I don’t think at that age he would have been ready for Food Inc. So, I’m recommending this flick as 12+ merely for pace and graphic images].

On whether Food Inc. changes his feelings about eating meat and packaged foods:

Heck, no. You just have to make sure you keep going to the good stores and bringing home organic food.”

In other words, Oliver got the film’s concluding message. Let’s just hope that by the time he’s in charge of his own grocery shopping, that he can get a job that will allow him to afford the same kind of groceries his father and I are lucky enough to be able to feed to him now.


17 Responses to Topline Trends Tuesday: Food Inc.

  1. Barb says:

    Sounds interesting. I don’t know much about this film but my take on it is that it will put me off prepackaged food even more than I am now. Not sure. do you recommend that people should see it?

  2. You’ve got a smart kid there!

    And you hit the nail on the head when you said that you hope he has a good enough job to be able to eat the way he wants to eat/ you hope he eats. It’s a sad commentary that it is cheaper to eat processed crap from across the continent than something locally grown and likely not processed. We consider it a necessary luxury to eat the way we do now.

  3. Dana says:

    I 100% recommend it, Barb!

    Cheryl, I’m really worried about how the next generation is going to cope with inflation caused by all this debt the country is assumIng, supporting aged baby boomers and much higher food prices. Their future is cloudy at best.

  4. Andrea says:

    Everyone should see this film!

  5. Natashya says:

    Looking forward to seeing this film. I have only heard of it through food bloggers.

  6. Rosie Schwartz says:

    I was at the screening last night too- didn’t see you!

    This is a must see film for a number of reasons. I agree on your take – the film says that we, as individual shoppers, need to make changes or what is happening will continue. And what is happening is unacceptable.

    For example, Monsanto’s control over the soybean industry must be broken. While there are usually two sides to every story, this one seems very clear cut. Individual farmers are powerless to farm like they used to. They must buy their seeds from Monsanto.

    Government subsidies that make processed foods cheap is striking at people who need healthier fare the most. The film really makes this point well.

    The increased awareness about our food that the film may bring to many people is the first step in change.

    And change is what we definitely need.

  7. danamccauley says:

    Totally agree with every point you made Rosie! (BTW< I saw you taking your seat but I was too far back to get your attention easily).

    I was thinking of the family who could feed their family less expensively on take out than on groceries when I made my last comment about Oliver being able to afford the same level of food quality we've been able to have here at home when he's independent.

    With companies such as Monsanto becoming monoplies who control the food supply and soon, perhaps the energy supply if we shift to bio fuel, a corporation could very easily rule the entire world. Sounds crazy and extreme but it's really quite plausible gvien current US laws.

  8. Oliver sounds very wise, not just sophisticated. Quite grown up for his age from what I can gather. Kudos to you for raising a socially conscious child.

    I want to see this film because I think it’s important, not because I’m going to like it. From what I read so far monopolies sound like yet another reason to eat local foods and support local farmers as much as possible.

  9. danamccauley says:

    Good point Char, this is a movie you watch to raise awareness and enrich understanding not for entertainment.

    And, I’m lucky in Oliver. He’s great all on his own!

  10. danamccauley says:

    Good point Char, this is a movie you watch to raise awareness and enrich understanding not for entertainment.

    And, I’m lucky in Oliver. He’s great all on his own!
    Sorry, forgot to add great post! Can’t wait to see your next post!

  11. CakeSpy says:

    I’m really interested in seeing this. Thanks for bringing it to my attention! I love learning more about the food we eat–I think it tells us a lot about society too.

  12. Rachel says:

    I am going to see the movie tonight. As a food scientist and chef I am conflicted by movies like this. I regularly get told by the uninformed regular people about the evils of my industry… but yet those same people rarely practice what they preach-and sucuum to the very temptations that the food industy presents to them…

  13. danamccauley says:

    Rachel, I’m going to be very interested to hear your perspective on Food Inc. Please drop by and share your views. Or, if you prefer, please send me an email. I’m sincere in my interest in your food scientist’s take on this movie.

  14. […] you’ve seen the movie Food Inc., you’ve likely been spending a bit of time wondering how the food you buy in the grocery store […]

  15. Intrepid Culinologist says:

    I have spent my entire life in the food industry-working in manufacturing facilities that made yogurt, salad dressing, tomato sauce, tea and margarine. I never really paid attention to how the raw ingredients got TO the manufacturing facility, all I cared about was that A. they arrived, B. they were within specification. This movie reminded me that all that food came from somewhere and while I stand by all of the processed food development that I have been involved in-I can’t really defend what was going on before it arrived at the plant… All I can do is just remind the new graduating food scientists that to always keep the bigger picture in mind and be careful about where your raw ingredients are coming from-understand and learn the path. As food scientists, we are much closer to the behind the scenes food industry activities going on and need to start playing a bigger role in fixing it.

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