VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Processed foods are getting a bad rap, according to one expert, who says the stigma around them can also be discriminatory.Dr. Sylvain Charelbois, a food science professor at Dalhousie University, says we forget how many people need to eat cheaper, processed foods to get by.“Most of the criticism against processed foods has come from academics [and] health professionals that do earn quite a bit of money,” he says. “To make this argument real you really need to understand how people consume food and the economic role of processed foods in general.”RELATED: Rising prices, new Canada Food Guide making family meal-planning toughCharlebois says the stigma has been around for a while.“We’ve seen this tsunami of criticism around processed foods, encouraging people to stay away from processed foods. And to a certain extent there’s some merit to that. Over the last 30 years we’ve seen an influx of bad products, but more processed foods are actually good for you, so that’s something we want to recognize.”RELATED: New federal food guide may be ‘out of reach’ for most Canadians: reportAnd he says, for many, processed foods are an economic necessity.“You also want to eat the proper amount of fruits and vegetables but again, fruits and vegetable prices are quite volatile, and so of course a lot of people are going to be looking for alternatives, and processed foods are often great alternative sources of vitamins and minerals and prices don’t fluctuate all that much.”He adds they’ve been getting much healthier in the last decade.