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Food, Inc.

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Food, Inc. Movie Poster Image
Important but disturbing docu about food biz. Teens and up.
  • PG
  • 2009
  • 94 minutes
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 8 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 17 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Despite emphasizing the gloom and doom of our country's dependence on a select group of multi-national corporations that monopolize our food industry, the documentary ultimately has a hopeful message: Pay attention to the food you eat, buy locally grown food, support independent farmers, make more meals as a family, and eat less (much, much less) at fast-food restaurants.


Disturbing scenes of a crowded chicken house and cattle factory, and even more disturbing scenes of various slaughterhouses that "process" chickens, pigs, and cows into poultry, pork, and beef. In one scene, a more traditional farmer and his workers slit the throats of chickens, but it's quick and not as gruesome as the slaughterhouse segments.


Nothing too alarming besides "stupid" and "damn."


Several multi-national food corporations are discussed at length: Monsanto, Perdue, Smithfield, Tyson, ConAgra, and BPI in particular, as well as fast-food chains like McDonald's and Burger King and supermarkets like Walmart. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Food, Inc. is a hard-hitting exposé on the food industry, especially the elite group of powerful corporations behind most of the food on supermarket counters. Most teens may not be interested, even though the documentary is rated PG and educational. There are a few disturbing scenes, mostly involving over-crowded chicken/pig/cow "factory farms" and slaughterhouses. It's worth noting that none of the featured companies agreed to be interviewed for the film, which does end up making the message seem somewhat one-sided.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byMsKrista February 14, 2011
Parent of a 17 year old Written byThinking July 30, 2009

Stuff you need to know

Stuff we all need to know.
Teen, 14 years old Written byCWG1 August 8, 2013

Be prepared to learn the truth

Hey, at least now we know. This movie is PG, but I feel it would be a better PG-13. It is disturbing, but it is very informative.This shows more along the line... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byspikeclb11 June 15, 2014

Food Inc.

It's a great documentary. But it also kind of gross so I'd say it's cautioned for kids 12 & under.

What's the story?

In FOOD, INC., filmmaker Robert Kenner essentially combines the themes of Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma and Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation to follow how most of the food in any given supermarket can be traced back to just a couple of crops (corn and soy) and a surprisingly small group of powerful multi-national corporations like Monsanto, Tyson, and Smithfield. With Schlosser and Pollan and a host of other interview subjects weighing in, Kenner shows how the astronomical rise of fast food changed farming, the food industry, and even the global diet -- and not for the better. Since profit, not nutrition, is the bottom line for these corporations, Kenner posits that consumers can make a difference by making more informed food purchases.

Is it any good?

It's a good thing that most theater concession stands don't sell cheeseburgers and chicken fingers, or audiences would want to hurl them -- in either sense -- after seeing this movie. Kenner provides a comprehensive look at how food goes from "seed to supermarket" and how the driving force isn't so much feeding the world but filling the corporate coffers of a select group of controlling companies. Anyone who's read either Pollan's or Schlosser's work (and their influence as producers/consultants is obviously influential) may know a lot of the material, but the vast majority of Americans are in the dark, which seems to be how some in the food industry would prefer it (not that any of the companies agreed to be interviewed for the film).

Food, Inc. offers plenty of horror stories: how big companies are keeping farmers down, how animals are treated cruelly so we can have bigger boneless chicken breasts and fast-food dollar menus, and even how the USDA seems to care more about the companies it's supposed to regulate than the population it's supposed to protect. The segments showing the animals can be terrifying, and the one about the working-class family that eats fast food because it's so much cheaper than healthier options is heartbreaking. But surprisingly, the overall message of the documentary is one of hope -- how every dollar we spend on food makes a difference, not just to our immediate families, but to the world.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what Food, Inc. is saying about the food industry. Is it unfair for the filmmaker to portray the companies as the villains, the farmers as the victims, and independent farmers and consumer advocates as the heroes?

  •  How does the silence of the companies depicted in the film affect the movie's credibility and impact?

  •  Kids: Does this make you think twice about asking for a Happy Meal? What about junk food in general?

Movie details

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