In Canada and the US, we enjoy an abundance of food options in a wide range of prices and affordability. We believe we have access to food and that our food supply is abundant. When we think of food security it is generally in the context of less developed countries, we think of famine, drought, and poverty in the extreme. However, the World Health Organization defines food security as “the state of having reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food”. The idea of access to nutritious food feels like it should be a given but what determines a food nutritious and does everyone really have access to these types of foods?
The health food and wellness industry, an industry which Fatso is most definitely a part of, has driven what we define as nutritious and “healthy” food and with this drive has come a spike in the price of “health food”. Avocados, quinoa, almond butter, almond milk, chia seeds, and kale are a few that come to mind. Terms like superfoods, paleo, gluten-free and keto have turned the food we eat every day into #brands thus driving up the demand and the price of these foods. But overall, dense leafy greens, whole grains, and milk, and meat alternatives are reserved for the few that can afford it leaving lower-income communities without access to the nutritious and life-preserving foods so many of us enjoy.
Collectively, we can all agree that food is a fundamental right, like water, and shelter. However, we rarely take a good look at what type of food people truly have access to. If you browse any food bank you will find that the vast majority of foods donated are carbohydrate-based, canned processed foods, and sugary drinks. Much of this is by virtue of the fact that food bank requests are for non-perishable items but what it tells people who need food bank donations to survive is that their health and wellness are less valuable.
Access to nutritious and fresh food is highly limited by access to income and that is what food accessibility aims to address. Health complications related to cardiovascular functions, diabetes, and obesity continue to put lives at risk and disproportionately affects those in a lower income bracket, people of colour and First Nations communities. Access to healful, nutritious food should be a fundamental right or at least made accessible to those who need it and want it.
One of the ways this problem can be addressed is making accessibility an important issue in the health and wellness industry and in the natural food sector. The reason Fatso has chosen to use peanuts is that it is a cheap commodity (literally costs peanuts!).
Many people ask us why we don’t use organic peanuts. Quite simply, using organic peanut prices people out of the market. We encourage those who are highly sensitive to non-organic peanuts to chose another brand but we aim to keep Fatso as accessibly priced as possible. When we select high-quality non-organic peanuts we do it so that we can splurge on other high-quality ingredients like coconut oil (it’s organic, by the way!), avocado oil, and MCT oil. We are able to provide a nutritionally dense, delicious product that is accessible to more people of varying incomes. Access to natural, healthful and nutritious foods should be a right and health and wellness should be an achievable goal for any person who chooses that path.