Value vs. Values: What Comes First, Chicken or Egg?
A real life test case that sets food value (cost of product) against food values (means of production) has just landed in California supermarkets. As of Jan 1, state law requires eggs to come from farms that offer minimum living standards for chickens. The standards, mandating more space in cages for healthier animals, affect the means of production, the laying hens, not the products: eggs. Since California consumes over 30 percent of U.S. egg production, its legal requirements affect farms nationwide. In the short run, the new law will certainly result in reduced supply and higher prices as producers invest in new hen houses. Consumers will finally decide the value in egg supply chain values by voting with their purchases.
John Howell, Editorial Director