Despite the focus on food, sustainability is often overlooked

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Photo Credit: Jonathan Garza | Daily Texan Staff

In the United States, there’s a huge focus on food and diet. We spend a lot of money on products in both categories. In 2013, U.S. consumers, businesses and government entities spent $1.4 trillion on food and beverages in grocery stores and other retailers, as well as on away-from-home meals. This year, consumers are expected to spend over $38 billion on diet and weight loss products and services, according to The Dallas Morning News.

Yet, despite the money we spend, we’re not any healthier as a nation. Empty calories from added sugars and solid fats contribute to 40 percent of total daily calories for 2 to 18-year-olds. According to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, half of these empty calories come from six sources: soda, fruit drinks, dairy desserts, grain desserts, pizza and whole milk.

Nor do we focus on where the leftover food goes — yes, I’m referring to the waste. 

So this edition of the Forum has a dual focus — healthy eating and sustainable food initiatives — featuring a Q-and-A with campus Executive Chef Robert Mayberry and a piece from Jacklyn Kachelmeyer, director of the Campus Environmental Center, regarding the new composting program in the Union.

Malik is a Plan II, business honors and finance junior from Austin. Follow Malick on Twitter @amil_malick94