Originally, food was processed for preservation - So that it will last longer during transportation and storage. Think of the days before refrigeration, our only option was to cure or can or some other method of preservation which generally includes adding salt to reduce chances of food going bad and increase taste.
In the 50’s everyone decided that they didn’t have time to cook, along with the proliferation of the microwave oven. This is when the food market changed from agriculture and ranching to manufacturing. Companies realized that they could buy the raw materials (whole foods) that people are supposed to eat and create ready to eat dishes with them and sell them for a profit.
Once food processing companies started popping up, they had to compete with each other. They did this with flavor, people wanted to buy the best tasting foods that would last on their shelves for a long time and were fast and convenient to prepare. Like most things in a largely capitalistic economy, this started to grow and get out of hand.
Remember, in the 50’s we didn’t know very much about a healthy diet.
What makes food taste good?
The same three things that we all know need to be moderated for a healthy diet. Well General Mills doesn’t give a sh** about your diet or health, they are looking to make a buck. This is accomplished by making the most delicious product to sell the masses.
Fast forward to today, we finally have decent nutritional markings on processed food to help us make informed decisions and we all (especially this group) are a bit more health conscious with more reliable and proven guidelines on what should constitute a healthy diet.
Remember, all of the food processing companies are not in business to make you a healthier person, they are here to sell product and create profits. They can take large amounts of food, and stretch them out to feed even more people, last longer, and be delicious; but they have to add things that people wouldn’t normally consume to make that happen.
So when looking for an excuse to eat those pre-packaged, processed foods that last for months on end; just realize that it is purely out of convenience and you are only bull shitting yourself.
But damn potato chips do taste good!