Hidden Cost of Hamburgers

By Caitlin Aylward

The “Food for 9 Billion” project recently released a video highlighting the “Hidden Cost of Hamburgers” as a part of a new YouTube investigative reporting channel, The I Files.

The video uncovers the true price of a hamburger, revealing the environmental and social costs of factory-farmed meat.

The average American eats around 3 hamburgers a week, which adds up to 156 burgers per person each year. As a nation, Americans consume more than 48 billion burgers annually.

Once you take into account the costs of greenhouse gas emissions, water usage, and healthcare expenses, a hamburger should actually cost an extra US$1.51. This figure multiplied by 48 billion burgers translates to a total loss of $72 billion dollars each year. Although consumers don’t pay for these costs at the grocery store, society pays for them in other ways in terms of climate change and taxpayer dollars.

But reducing your burger consumption can have a huge impact. Just cutting out one hamburger a week can have the same effect as taking your car off the road for 350 miles. Eating grass-fed beef, while more expensive, can also help reduce environmental damage.

Click here to check out the video.

To learn more about “Food for 9 Billion,” click here. Or to read more about the hidden costs of hamburgers here.

Caitlin Aylward is a research intern with the Nourishing the Planet project.

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