Michael Pollan GettyImages 1655584188

Hollywood loves sequels, however within the nonfiction area it’s uncommon for a documentary to get a observe up. However, 15 years after Food, Inc. landed with big affect, the sequel Food, Inc. 2 premiered on the Telluride Film Festival, bringing a contemporary perspective on America’s spoiled meals system.

“All of us swore we’d by no means go to this space once more,” stated Robert Kenner, director of the unique Food, Inc. He co-directed Participant’s Food, Inc. 2 with Melissa Robledo, a co-producer on the primary movie. “But I believe on some ranges this turned such an vital story to go inform that all of us felt we would have liked to return again and we may speak about it in form of stronger phrases than we did [before].”

The catalyst for the sequel turned the pandemic, which uncovered the vulnerabilities of a meals system dominated by a handful of large agribusiness firms together with Cargill, ADM, and Tyson Foods.

Author and 'Food, Inc. 2' producer Michael Pollan attends the 50th Telluride Film Festival on September 02, 2023 in Telluride, Colorado.

Author and ‘Food, Inc. 2’ producer Michael Pollan on the Telluride Film Festival.

Paul Best/Getty Images for ABA

“When you get a system that’s so hyper-efficient, it additionally turns into very brittle and it may’t stand up to shocks,” writer Michael Pollan, a producer on Food, Inc. 2 and a particular advisor on the orginal, informed Deadline in Telluride. “We have been seeing farmers throwing out super quantities of meals, euthanizing pigs, spilling milk on the bottom on the identical time grocery store cabinets have been empty. And how may these two issues go collectively?”

The lumbering giants of ag enterprise have been too clumsy to regulate, the filmmakers say. What these firms did have going for them was immense energy in Washington. That turned evident after meat packing crops changed into Covid tremendous spreaders. When native authorities in Waterloo, Iowa tried to pause manufacturing at a Tyson Foods plant in response to a Covid outbreak, firm chairman John Tyson had different concepts. He wrote a letter to then President Trump urging him to maintain manufacturing strains open regardless of the danger to staff. Two days later, Trump obliged with an government order (drafted with assist from Tyson), citing his authority underneath the Defense Production Act.

“A whole abuse of that Act, by the way in which,” Pollan maintained. “If you ever wanted a greater illustration of company energy run amok, it was that John Tyson-to-Trump letter.”

A photo illustration of the ingredients on a packet of processed meat on February 16, 2018 in London, England.

Label for an ultra-processed meat product.

Photo illustration by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

One of the brand new areas of exploration within the sequel is the expansion of ultra-processed meals, which now account for about 58 % of every day calorie consumption amongst Americans. The movie appears to be like at research which present ultra-processed meals (breakfast cereals, carbonated drinks, frozen pizzas, sweet, and so on.) trick the mind into consuming extra. That, in flip, results in larger charges of weight problems and diabetes. 

Food firms pour hundreds of thousands of {dollars} into analysis to artificially increase the flavour profile and look of merchandise, leading to Americans “dropping their style for actual meals,” as Pollan says within the movie. Big ag firms obtain billions of {dollars} in subsidies to develop commodity crops like corn. Not surprisingly, corn and corn-derived sweeteners wind up in additional meals, once more with deleterious well being results.

“Diets wealthy in [high fructose corn syrup],” in accordance with an article printed on Healthline.com, “have been linked to well being issues like fatty liver, excessive triglycerides, insulin resistance, excessive blood sugar, and an elevated danger of sort 2 diabetes.”

“This is the final word capitalist transfer,” Kenner noticed. “It would possibly kill its clients, however it’s benefiting from low-cost commodity costs.”

Tomato harvesters in 'Food, Inc. 2'

Tomato harvesters in ‘Food, Inc. 2’


Food, Inc. 2, nonetheless, isn’t all doom and gloom. Far from it, the truth is. The Fair Food motion has been rising in Florida, as an illustration, which has seen tomato pickers persuade some producers to present them higher wages and dealing circumstances. The motion has loved some success enlisting customers to press firms to market merchandise that don’t contain exploitation of labor.

“The Achilles heel of capitalism, shopper capitalism anyway, is the model. Companies are extra afraid of their model being sullied than they’re of any regulation,” Pollan stated. The [Fair Food] coalition figured that out – if we assault these manufacturers, if we attempt to attract consideration to the chairman of Burger King publicly, disgrace individuals, all this type of factor, it was efficient.”

Wendy’s got here in for some public shaming after it “stopped shopping for winter tomatoes from Florida, as an alternative selecting to buy from Mexico, the place pressured labor and abusive farm circumstances are extra widespread,” in accordance with a report by FastCompany. Wendy’s reportedly stated its transfer was “unrelated to the Fair Food Program.”

Farmer Zack Smith with some of his pigs in the Cluster Cluck 5000.

Farmer Zack Smith with a few of his pigs within the Cluster Cluck 5000.


Commodity crops like corn and soybeans have been depleting treasured topsoil in states like Iowa. But the movie reveals how farmer and entrepreneur Zack Smith has created an revolutionary resolution to that drawback. He co-designed an ingenious “cellular barn” he calls a Cluster Cluck 5000 that strikes by means of fields. In entrance are goats and sheep that fortunately munch on crops. In again of a central unit, pigs root about in dust, aerating the soil and depositing manure. Every few hours, the cellular barn relocates to a brand new spot and the animals renew their efforts.

“They’re all the time glad,” Smith informed Deadline concerning the animals. “They by no means look harassed. There’s all the time contemporary pasture coming they usually’re excited. Every time the barn strikes, you’ll be able to actually see the thrill within the animals. It’s unbelievable. It’s pleasant.”

The Cluster Cluck retains soil in place and improves crops. Smith stated scaling his venture is “not a tough factor… I understand how to make this work on the manufacturing facet and we’ve confirmed that.”

Director Robert Kenner and producer Eric Schlosser attend the 50th Telluride Film Festival on September 02, 2023 in Telluride, Colorado.

‘Food, Inc. 2’ director Robert Kenner and producer Eric Schlosser in Telluride.

Paul Best/Getty Images for ABA

The processing facet – the place pigs and different animals go to slaughter – is one other matter. That’s managed by the large ag firms.

“There’s the brightness of individuals like Zack on the market doing nice issues. We simply want to have the ability to create a system the place individuals like Zack can flourish,” Kenner stated. “And it’s not a good, even taking part in area on the second.”

Director Melissa Robledo attends the 50th Telluride Film Festival on September 02, 2023 in Telluride, Colorado.

Director Melissa Robledo in Telluride.

Paul Best/Getty Images for ABA

If you’ll forgive the metaphor, there’s a robust urge for food for the tales informed and matters lined in Food, Inc. 2.

“The curiosity is unquestionably nonetheless there amongst customers,” Robledo, the co-director, stated. “I believe there’s no scarcity of curiosity in these points and what’s occurring. People have been constantly from the time the primary movie got here out.”

Food, dare we are saying, for thought.

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