What is behind a number?

I imagine that, lately, one of the most frequent thoughts in people’s minds, when they walk through a supermarket, is the steep increase in prices. But, before prices started soaring because of inflation, the war in Ukraine, and some corporate greed amongst other factors, did you ever wonder what the price that you are paying for the food you eat includes?

A nonprofit in The Netherlands, called “True Price”, is trying to bring some awareness to consumers. Participating supermarkets in this campaign exhibit two prices for some of their products, the “normal price” and the “true price”. The “normal price” is the price one would find in any other retailer, while the “true price” includes some hidden costs, such as carbon emissions, worker underpayment, and water and land use. Costumers get to choose which price to pay when they are done shopping, and some supermarket owners report that customers like having the choice. Some of the customers that have the economic means to do so, appreciate having a way to compensate for the damage done by their consumption. Also, it is a way to tell which companies are more respectful of the environment and their workers by evaluating the difference between the “normal price” and the “true price.”

If they decide to pay the “true price”, the extra money goes to fund projects aimed at counteracting the hidden costs. The nonprofit was founded in 2012 and has worked with a variety of businesses, such as a chocolate company, a bakery chain, banks, and fashion brands, to calculate the “true prices” of various goods. At the heart of the idea of the nonprofit is that “normal prices” are an illusion because they do not account for what many economists consider “externalities”, which are often environmental and social costs associated with the product. Hence the nonprofit hopes that “if companies and consumers have fewer illusions about how much things really cost, they may change how they spend, sell, and manufacture.”

So, next time you are in the supermarket buying your groceries, stop for a second and think about what is behind the price of those yummy bananas, that fresh lettuce, or those delicious candies that you are buying!

Article from which I extracted the information: https://www.newyorker.com/business/currency/how-much-do-things-really-cost

 

By: Olga Muñoz  | Graduate Assistant
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Posted: June 21, 2022


Category: Agribusiness, Agriculture, Crops, Food Safety, Fruits & Vegetables, Health & Nutrition, Work & Life
Tags: Food, Inflation, Money


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