If you want to read up on the U.S. food industry, there are hundreds of books to choose from.
Who has that kind of time, though?
To narrow the selection, we made a short list of the best titles. Quality can be super subjective, so we tried to instill some objectivity by using this criteria: All of these titles have a four-star or greater average rating on Goodreads.
If you’re not familiar with Goodreads, you should know that reviewers on the platform do not mess around. Most users give significantly lower ratings compared to Amazon, and the site is known for having more critical reviews. Achieving a four-star average is a sign that a book is not likely to disappoint you.
1. “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” by Michael Pollan
If we weren’t limiting this list to one book per author, most of this article would be about Michael Pollan. “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” is perhaps his best book. It explores every facet of where our food comes from, all to answer a simple question, “What should we have for dinner?”
2. “The Dorito Effect” by Mark Schatzker
As our food has gotten bigger, the flavor has become blander. That’s the reality Mark Schatzker illustrates in his book, “The Dorito Effect: The Surprising New Truth About Food and Flavor.” Maybe making our food taste better can also make it healthier.
3. “The World According to Monsanto” by Marie-Monique Robin
Monsanto is one of the most controversial companies in the world, and Marie-Monique Robin’s book shows why. If you are concerned with genetically modified organisms [GMOs] in our food, be sure to read it.
4. “Slaughterhouse” by Gail A. Eisnitz
Eisnitz wrote this book more than 20 years ago, yet it still highlights modern issues in the meat industry, including deregulation and industry consolidation. If you have a strong stomach and really want to know about what happens inside slaughterhouses, it’s a book worth buying.
5. “Death by Food Pyramid” by Denise Minger
When you were a kid, did any of your teachers show you that iconic food pyramid diagram, the one with junk food at the top and healthy items at the bottom? In her book Denise Minger argues that these ideas about health and dieting are actually part of a toxic food culture that has hurt us.
6. “The Third Plate” by Dan Barber
According to Barber, many of us are currently on the “second plate”: grass-fed meat and organic greens. It’s healthier than the first: industrially-produced and meat-heavy dishes. Nonetheless, he claims there is a third plate that is even better and should be the future of the food industry.
Want to Add to Our Library?
If you spot other relevant books that have a four-star average or higher on Goodreads, let us know! There can never be enough food for thought.
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