Food supply chains seemingly deliver advantages to the consumer in terms of price and convenience. However, when the food system is explored in more depth we see that there are downsides, with growers under pressure to deliver more for less, damage to the environment and at the consumer end increases in diet related non-communicable diseases. The key argument put forward is that the food system itself is a major contributor to food poverty. This is explored using examples from coffee and cocoa food supply chains to show how those who grow the commodity are disadvantaged. Ultra-processed foods as an outcome of the food system are used to explore the impact of 'cheap' food on consumer health alongside damage to the environment. The conclusions are that actions at a structural level are needed to allow households, whether as producers or as citizen-consumers, to afford to live healthy and sustainable lives.
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