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Greek Crisis Changing Food Habits: Disappearing Fish, Fishermen and Obese Greek Kids

 

The worsening economic crisis is hitting the Greek table in a big way. Fish, a staple, is disappearing and making way for cheaper meat alternatives. Fish has become a luxury item so much so that a kilo of grouper goes for 40 Euros. I have interviewed sources that state it is expensive for a family to survive on a kilo of fish alone. They prefer to stretch the Euro and buy a kilo of pork shoulder that will last them for lunch and dinner.

The Greek crisis is also changing the picture of the iconic Greek fisherman. The traditional Greek fisherman is in reality disappearing. In the last five years the local fish populations have plummeted making supplemental fishing impossible. Generations of fishermen have turned to starting souvlaki tavernas on islands such as Schinousa. Local fish industries that relied on independent family-based fishermen have eroded.

The crisis has changed the way consumers even shop at the traditional open air street markets, the alike; instead of heading out early to get the freshest produce available, penny-pinching housewives wait till 2 pm, an hour before closing time to extort a lesser price in produce from the produce sellers.

The availability of American-style food establishments that glorify hamburgers, pizza, hot dogs have exploded. This has spiked obesity rates in children as calculated by a recent report.  In fact, Greek children top the list for the most overweight in the world in 2010 or nearer data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, topping even the rates for children in the US.

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The typical icons of the Greek table, fish, fresh vegetables, and lean healthy families are being replaced by hamburgers, inferior quality produce and obese children, thanks to the Greek crisis.