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          With seven billion human beings on Earth, it’s easy to imagine that a problem could exist surrounding human food consumption. A group of people set out to illustrate this exact point through a project named Hungry Planet: What The World Eats. Peter Menzel and his wife, Faith D'Alusio, realized that everyone eats differently all across our world, and that awareness of this realization should be spread to others. Hungry Planet is the result of three years of combined effort between Menzel and D’Alusio; Menzel is the photographer and D’Alusio is the writer. Their collaboration has developed over the span of twelve years and is rooted in their own obsessing with food. “We’ve been eating and drinking, photographing and interviewing, learning and discovering, in more than sixty countries” (What does the world eat? [Video File]). This project was based on the theory that humans in different parts of the world eat differently from one other, and so they tried a variety of new and sometimes exotic foods (like, fried starfish) and visited people’s homes (igloos, for example) to enlighten themselves. They found oftentimes something that might seem unfamiliar or even strange to you and me is actually a main part of these families’ daily lives. This project has inspired me to stop procrastinating and to try to eat healthier, even though I am still young. I cannot avoid escaping the influence of large food corporations altogether, but I can learn to eat healthy even with the odds stacked against me. We are talking about our happiness and health here! Everything is about balance. So, concerning food, you can have situations where there is a major imbalance, in terms portions that are too large or foods that contain little nutritional value. Right now, my culture eats like this. Stopping to open one’s mind to the actual facts may lead one to eventually make the correct dietary choices. Using rhetorical strategies in the correct way makes this project honest and respected tremendously.


          I decided to analyze the picture that spoke to me the most. The picture I am going to be analyzing (out of the 28 pictures in their book) is of the Revis family from Raleigh, North Carolina. Ronald and Rosemary Revis stand behind their two sons (Brandon and Tyrone) in this photograph. The two sons are each holding a box of pizza and have big smiles on their faces. The mother has her hands on the shoulders of one of her sons, while the father is standing right beside her as well as their week’s supply of food. What I first noticed were the recognized labels such as Coke, Lays, McDonalds, A&W, 7-UP, and Budweiser. Looking closer, I could see some grapes, a few cups of applesauce, and some jugs of milk. Junk food is what I categorized the majority of their food as. The family was standing with their food pile on their dining room table, and they were standing with their backs towards the kitchen. This picture shows ethos by having foods such as pizza, fast food, chips, and soda. Ethical appeals aim to gain the audience’s trust on an opinion. Displaying these food items – the food that they prefer to eat at least once a week - allowed the audience to see the similarities and differences in their diet comparatively. The Revises purchases were mostly packaged as opposed to natural like the other Hungry Planet families. This allowed me to trust their opinion because I mostly purchase packaged food too, and so I related to them. The reason why these foods are satisfactory to the Revises is because they are cheaper compared to healthier options. A common food growing up for me was Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, which is basically salt and cheese. There is not a lot of nutritional value in that. However, Kraft is a huge, successful brand name, especially for working class families, because it’s not very expensive. It is understandable why a family would eat pizza every week - because it shares that cost efficiency. On a different spectrum, some of the children that Hungry Planet interviewed said that the foods that they wish they could eat more of were meat and cheese – basic foods within my culture, yet rarer in theirs. This exemplifies the phrase “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” perfectly. Through this picture, Menzel shows evidence of how big corporations have “kidnapped” American grocery lists and are deciding what the majority of the population eats on a regular basis. Personally, in my culture, this is the truest statement. Super markets control what snacks we buy. In Business Wire, McCaskill states, “Salty snacks contribute more than one-fifth of snack sales in North America ($27.7B).”


           Noticing that the two sons are about the same age as I am is one of the main reasons I chose to analyze this photo; I could relate to them. Menzel and D'Alusio appear to have done this on purpose by using pathos – emotional appeal. Pathos focuses on the audience’s positive and negative emotions towards the subject. Pathos is successful in persuading this audience because it allows us to emotionally connect with the family in this picture. By portraying foods that are in my diet as well, and displaying a family similar to mine (the same clothes and a similar looking apartment), this allowed me to sympathize with them. Seeing another family making somewhat unhealthy choices in their diet just as I do made me realize that it might not be a coincidence. This mistake, or “bad habit,” may be a common effect stemming from our government trying to control the food industry. Peter Chalk explains this involvement in his book Hitting America’s Soft Underbelly: “Agriculture and the food industry in general are extremely important to the social, economic, and, arguably, political stability of the United States … In 2001, food production constituted 9.7 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP), generating cash receipts in excess of $991 million.” (Chalk, 2004)


          Americans do not have as much control over what they eat as they may think that they do. Even if the Revis family hopes to eat healthy, they can only go so far. As shown by the variety of the food they displayed, they seem to purchase well known brands that are only sold in the U.S. This shows logos – logical appeal. Logos is centered on the message of the cause. The message – the food crisis - makes sense because people are influenced to eat certain foods due to where they live and what stores they purchase their food from. Generally, every culture eats the way that their neighbours do. Unless we change, and unless we try to adopt new eating habits, we are just going to eat what catches our eyes and stomachs first. This is the main point of advocacy for Hungry Planet, and an obvious example of how the Revis family diet is comprised of their cultural tendencies. People who live in the United States are influenced by food that we are around, period. A graph of the top imports to the United States shows that in 2011, the United States spent $3,795,971 on Beer of Barley, $2,001,959 importing chocolate, and spent a total of $4,380,102 purchasing raw, refined, and confectionery sugar for the nation (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2011). In a country that spends so much of its budget on unneeded food enhancers, transferring to a healthy diet is made more difficult because healthier foods are more expensive and not in abundance. In another data chart, it is shown that 38.4% of adults and 39.8% of adolescents in Virginia consume less than one serving of fruit a day (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations 2013). Even our food industry corporations use ethos, pathos, and logos to attract consumers to purchase their products. Instead of persuading the audience to eat healthy, our grocery stores selfishly aim for sales. They do not care about the population’s health. Keeping the statistics hidden from society and distracting the buyers with ads and prices is a productive measure that causes the worst for our nation’s well being. It’s unfortunate what power does to some people.


          In contrast, Hungry Planet is intelligent. It reveals the truth to the audience, rather than trying to persuade us. They want us to know that there is, indeed, a food crisis that will eventually affect us all. The Revises' family photo is perfect in portraying this ultimate message through rhetorical appeals. It shows ethos by allowing someone like me to see the similarities between what I eat and what they eat, thus gaining my trust. It shows pathos by illustrating the positive and negative affects of that family’s eating habits. Lastly, it shows logos by demonstrating that corporations control the food industry, and that even though we’d like to think so, we do not necessarily control what we consume. By establishing credibility and educating themselves on an array of cultures and their foods, Menzel and D’Alusio illustrate the gravity of the world’s food situation. Not only does this whole project contain appeals, each individual picture is created rhetorically. Using these strategies, they show the importance of our worldwide food crisis. In establishing the degree to which Menzel and D'Alusio have researched all across the world, they use ethos (ethical appeal) to gain the audience’s trust. By using pathos (emotional appeal), their audience sympathizes with each family shown with their week’s worth of food, knowing that some were unable to eat healthier due to their culture and geographical location. Menzel and D'Alusio allow people to ponder this problem using logos (logical appeal), and cause us to think about our own food industry. Personally, these appeals have been highly effective; I have begun to realize that if I do not start to eat healthier, I may face significant and serious health problems in the future.




Chalk, P. (2004). Introduction. In N. DelFavero (Ed.), Hitting America’s Soft

          Underbelly (4). Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation.

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. (2011). IMPORTS:

          Commodities by Country. Retrieved from


Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. (2013). State Indicator Report

          on Fruits and Vegetables 2013. Retrieved

          from http://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/downloads/State-Indicator-Report-Fruits-


McCaskill, A. (September 30th, 2014). Global Snack Food Sales Reach $374 

          Billion Annually. Business Wire. Retrieved from: http://www.businesswire.


What does the world eat? [Video File] Retrieved

          from http://www.tedmed.com/talks/show?id=7191&ref=about-this-talk









DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.