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How We Eat

The Brave New World of Food and Drink


Paco Underhill (View Bio)
Hardcover: Simon & Schuster, 2022.

How We Eat

From a global expert on consumer behavior, an entertaining and timely exploration of how our food-from where it's grown to how we buy it-is undergoing a radical transformation.

In How We Eat, market researcher and best-selling author Paco Underhill, who was hailed by the San Francisco Chronicle as a "Sherlock Holmes for retailers," takes a hopeful and characteristically witty approach to how we can change the ways we consume, revealing the future of food in surprising anecdotes.  

For example, how the city is becoming countrified with the rise of farmer's markets and rooftop farms; how supermarkets are finding that their most valuable real estate-their parking lot-is better used to grow food and host community events; and how marijuana farmers, who have utilized artificial light to grow crops for years, have developed a playbook so stores like Walmart can grow food in an uncertain future. Underhill is an expert in consumer habits and the author of Why We Buy.  

In How We Eat, he shows how food intersects with every major battle we face today, from political and environmental to economic and racial. Is our food system broken?  Underhill invites you to discover how we produce, process, distribute, and consume food.

"An eye-opening journey.... With a witty, conversational tone, Underhill leads readers on a trip through various aspects of the food industry to demonstrate the ways in which changes in consumer behavior, as well as production concerns, are being addressed. He explores the layout of a typical supermarket and chronicles his tour of a farmer’s market in New York City as well the headquarters of a popular supercenter. Underhill is not all doom-and-gloom regarding technology’s impact. He points out certain developments.... Hopeful and enlightening commentary on the future of the food industry." — Kirkus Reviews

"Environmental psychologist Underhill...presents factoids galore: Most common search term on Grubhub during the pandemic? Wine, followed by cake. The world's oldest bar? Luain's Inn in Ireland goes back around 1,100 years.... Underhill interviews experts.... The most appealing passages are his personal anecdotes—while pleasantly meandering." — Publishers Weekly

"Underhill turns a critical and scientific eye toward modern food distribution and marketing.... Underhill’s marketing perspective ably supplements other critics’ reproaches of our contemporary food supply." — Booklist

"Underhill, an expert in consumer behavior, writes about a central aspect of all humanity: food. He argues that the contemporary food system is broken and analyzes the current trends in all aspects of the industry and extrapolates them to see how humans might be eating in the future. He dedicates each chapter to a different aspect of food-production and seeks to highlight how future endeavors may help to create a better food system for everyone involved. Beyond the technological aspects of food-production, he also writes about psychological and sociological changes that are affecting the industry. The future of food might not turn out exactly as Underhill envisions it, but his book is an interesting behind-the-scenes look at the industry that will surprise readers at what might be coming. Underhill doesn't prescribe any concrete solutions, which may leave readers wanting more.... Written in an informal, conversational style, this is an enlightening look at a central part of human life." — Laura Hiatt, Library Journal

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