No one seems to ask why we need cheap food in the first place. The simple answer is that cheap food helps to keep wages down. This is especially important when a country is industrializing and needs low-paid but amply-fed workers. Later, cheap food helps free up expendable income to buy the consumer goods produced by all that industrialization. These were supposed to be stages of economic development, to be surpassed as workers accumulate wealth and climb up the economic ladder.