The best food documentaries ever made 


01/19/2022


There are not many things in the world that we all have in common, however, a need for food is one of them. But despite our reliance on food for survival, many people remain ignorant to what actually goes on within the food industry - how does it actually end up on our plate? For this reason, many food documentaries have been made over the years and have been released on platforms such as Netflix and Prime Video. We thought we'd round up the very best food documentaries that have ever been made, and we decided to try and include a mix of documentaries about different aspects of the food industry. Let's get into the list:


Fed Up (2014)


Fed Up is considered to be one of the best and most important documentaries ever made. The film explores the idea that the American food industry might be responsible for much of the illness that exists within American society, the idea being that the government and large corporations release incorrect information about diets and food which results in issues such as childhood obesity. The film is barely 90 minutes long but manages to cram in so much information about food and diet, and manages to do so in a way that feels comprehensible rather than overwhelming. The documentary also features lots of interviews with health professionals and experts to further cement the legitimacy of the claims made in the film. You can currently watch this documentary with Hoopla.



Food Chains (2014)


This is another food documentary that despite being released almost 10 years ago is still very highly regarded. It's narrated by Forest Whitaker and is very well-made. It follows a group of workers from a farm who decide to go on a hunger strike at the headquarters of Publix supermarkets to protest against poor wages and their working conditions. The documentary shines a light on some of the awful conditions that farmworkers are forced to work in, and will really make you think about where your food comes from. In fact, we think this documentary is pretty much essential viewing, and that's what makes it one of the best. Again, you can find this documentary streaming via Hoopla.




The Future of Food (2004)


This documentary is directed by Deborah Koons, who also directed Symphony of the Soil (another great food documentary that we could have included in this list). This film takes a look at Genetically Modified Food and the powers within the food industry that push for this type of food to be made. It's quite a disturbing film because it really highlights how much of the food we consume every day has been genetically modified, even food that has come from farms and is sold as being natural. One thing we'd say about this documentary is that isn't a particularly balanced look at the world of genetically modified food - it's an attack on the idea. However, we don't really mind this at all and think the documentary is full of passion.



Fresh (2009)


This food documentary is quite a broad look at the food industry and jumps from poultry to dairy to vegetables across the runtime. However the main message of the film is clear - there are lots of problems in all of these industries, and it is actually quite easy to eat better and healthier, you just need to know where to look. There are some slightly disturbing images in the film such as chickens without beaks, but it's all real footage which is what makes it really scary. This movie could be good for younger people to watch as it explains the issues in a pretty straightforward way. You can stream this movie via Kanopy.



The Dark Side of Chocolate (2010)


This film is slightly different to the other documentaries in our list, because it focuses on a specific type of food - chocolate. However, it's still one of the best food documentaries we've ever seen so it is well worth inclusion. The film follows a group of journalists who head to the Ivory Coast to uncover the truth about what is behind the global chocolate industry, and the findings are shocking. The documentary shows how children are trafficked to work for companies that harvest cocoa beans, and how those beans are used to make the chocolate that millions of people consume around the world. It shows how even a seemingly innocent industry such as chocolate can have a dark side, and it also shows why it's important to buy fairtrade and sustainable chocolate. We included this documentary in our list of movies about candy.



Eating Animals (2017)


This documentary is all about factory farming, and we'll be honest it's a difficult watch. Narrated by Natalie Portman, this film is well-made and does an excellent job at uncovering all of the horrors of factory farming. This is one of those food documentaries that will really make you think about what you eat and possibly even turn you into a vegetarian (we're not kidding). You can stream this movie via AMC+ with Prime Video.



Food Stamped (2010)


This documentary is less about the problems with the food industry and more about the issues that people in poverty face when trying to afford good food. The documentary shows Shira and Yoav Potash who try to eat healthy by spending one dollar per meal, and the results are interesting. As you can imagine it is pretty difficult if you don't know where to look. You can stream this documentary via Kanopy.



Edible City (2014)


This is not a very popular food documentary, but we really wanted to include it in this list. It follows people who are growing food for locals on a small scale and shows the benefits of this approach compared to the way we do things on a larger scale. There are some really interesting and passionate people in this documentary, and it'll probably inspire you to get into the garden and start growing your own food. You can stream this documentary via Hoopla.