Processing and Transportation

The processing of food and fiber crops in the developed world is highly organized, leading to widespread availability of a dizzying array of food and nonfood products at relatively low cost. Refrigerated cargo ships and refrigerated trailers transport more than 200 types of fresh fruits and vegetables, making them available year-round at most supermarkets in the developed world. Large food processors can, box, bag, bottle, and freeze more than 10,000 different products in the United States alone. In contrast, in the developing world, food is much more likely to be of limited variety, and is produced very close to where it is consumed at a cost that is proportionally greater than in the developed world. Nonfood items are similarly limited in variety and relatively high in cost.

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