People don't notice much of anything at all if they're eating at McDonald's. A big chunk of what people are paying for at the grocery store and at fast food restaurants is packaging. If you order a typical value meal at McDonald's: soft drink, fries and a hamburger, that also comes with a drink cup, drink lid, a straw, a cardboard box or wax paper wrapper for the burger, the cardboard container for the fries, any number of napkins, individually wrapped containers holding a teaspoon of Ketchup each, and a big paper bag to contain everything but the drink. If you have multiple orders the whole thing may be thrown into another plastic bag, you may get a cardboard drink holder too. Grab a few extra napkins on your way out too. The grocery store is not much better if you're buying a lot of packaged goods. I think I posted recently finding a plastic tube at the store full of individually wrapped prunes. The "value add" of the packaging was easily more expensive than the prunes. Despite the trend toward reusable cloth shopping bags, the vast majority of shoppers take home sometimes dozens of extra plastic bags home with every trip. So, pretty clearly, one of the biggest energy/resource drains of the U.S. food supply is consumer packaging. Imagine the energy savings we could achieve in our domestic economy if we could achieve a 10% reduction in the volume of consumer packaging. I get one box of fruit and vegetables every week from a local co-op. A full week's supply comes in one cardboard box. There is a huge savings in packaging over an average trip to the grocery store. But even I don't know how this nets out with the truck delivery to my door. It's hard to know. There is a focus on locally grown produce, so hopefully a reduction in overall transportation costs. But again, I don't have the expertise to do a reasonable calculation. It may be more about patting myself on the back than conserving resources. Let me pause here while I pat myself on the back one more time. Even so, with all the produce we get (it costs $40/week) we have to be pretty creative to use all the vegetables, so we're eating much less meat. I'm not a vegetarian and don't intend to become one as long as I have a viable choice, but I've definitely shifted the balance of my family's diet away from meat.