Global Food Prices Are Higher Today Most Of Modern History

Global Food Prices Are Higher Today Most Of Modern History

Comparing to the same time last year, global food prices rose by nearly 33% in September 2021. This is according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation’s (FAO’s) monthly Food Price Index. It also showed that global food prices have increased by more than 33% since July. These levels are unprecedented since 2011.

The Food Price Index measures the cumulative effect of changes in a variety of food commodities including vegetables oils, cereals and meat. It can use to compare these prices month to month. It converts actual prices into an index, based on average price levels for 2002-2004. This is the standard source to track food prices nominal prices. They are not adjust for inflation.

Nominal prices are the cost of food on the market. However, inflation adjusted prices (or “real”) prices are more relevant to food security and how easy it is for people to access the right nutrition. All goods and services are more expensive than the average income, although not always. Inflation is when buyers have to pay more for food due to the nominal price rise, but also because they have less money to spend on other goods and services, given the parallel price rises of all other items, including wages.

In August, I looked at the FAO’s inflation adjusted Food Price Index. It revealed that global real food prices were higher than they were in 2011, when food riots led to the overthrows of the governments of Egypt and Libya. Based on actual prices, it’s currently more difficult to buy food internationally than in nearly every year since 1961 when UN records began. 1974 and 1975 are the only exceptions. 1974 and 1975 are the only exceptions. What is causing food prices to soar to historical highs?

Bad Weather, Fuel Prices And COVID-19

There are many factors that influence the average international food price. Prices of different commodities fluctuate based on both universal and specific factors. The oil price increase, which began in April 2020, has had an impact on all food commodities listed on the FAO index by increasing production and transportation costs. The COVID pandemic has caused a shortage of labour to produce, harvest, process, and distribute food. This is another common cause of commodity price increases.

Since 2000, the real average cost of food has been rising. This reverses the trend of steady decline since the 1960s. Despite international efforts to meet the UN Millennium Development targets and the Sustainable Development Goals, food has become less affordable.

Since 2000, no single commodity has contributed to the average real price rise. The price index for edible oil crops has increased significantly since March 2020. This is mainly due to the increase in vegetable oils’ prices, which rose 16.9% between 2019-2020. FAO crop reports indicate that this is due to growing demand for biodiesel, and unsupportive weather conditions.

Sugar is the other major food category that has contributed most to the increase in food prices. Unfavourable weather conditions, such as frost damage in Brazil have reduced supply and inflated the prices.

Cereals Have Contributed Less Global

Cereals have contributed less to overall price rises, but their availability worldwide is crucial for food security. Global nutrition accounts for at least half of the world’s food, with as high as 80% being found in the most deprive countries. As a result, global buffer stocks for these crops have been decreasing since 2017. Despite the stabilization of global markets being help by closing down existing stores, prices have risen sharply since 2019.

The reasons behind individual fluctuations can be complicate. The FAO has reported that unpredictable or unfavourable weather conditions have been report as causing reduce harvest hopes, weather-stricken harvests, and production decline since 2000.

Europeans may be concerned about the rising cost of pasta due to Canadian droughts that have reduced wheat harvests. As the real price index of cereals climbs to levels that have sparked riots and general unrest in 2011, it is urgent that we consider how less-affluent communities can weather these stresses and avoid unrest.

Unfavorable weather is beyond our technological capabilities and socioeconomic organization. It would be a great time to think about food supply in a warmer world by more than 2 degrees Celsius, an outcome that is increasingly likely according the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report.

Climate breakdown, without radical changes, will continue to limit international access to imported foods, far beyond any historical precedent. Food security will be affect by higher prices. And if there’s one consistent law of social science, it is that people who are hungry take drastic steps to protect their livelihoods, especially in areas where leaders are seen as failing.

Drought Threatens Dried Fruits And Veggies

Drought Threatens Dried Fruits And Veggies

The recurring and intensifying droughts in Australia can make fruits potatoes more brittle and apples harder to dehydrate. Although it may sound counterintuitive, dry conditions can have a negative impact on the quality of fruits and vegetables, making it more difficult to dry them. This has huge implications for Australia’s economy and food security.

Dry foods make up a large portion of our diet. Australia exports approximately 70% of its produce annually, valued at close to A$49 trillion. Dry produce is an important component of this. For example, in 2018-19, the value of just sultanas currants, raisins, and currants was $25.1 million.

We risk losing these lucrative markets if dried foods lose their quality, availability, and taste. My ongoing research into advanced drying methods is aim at overcoming this problem by closely controlling how cells change in structure and shape.

Droughts Will Get Worse

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC), Australia is likely to become more dry as the world heats. This will lead more droughts and drier soils, more tree deaths, and more. Recent droughts in eastern Australia have shown that climate change can cause havoc on both plant production and society. For example, the climate change impacts caused agricultural profits to plummet by 23% in the period 2001-2020. This is approximately $29,200 per farmer compare to historical averages.

The COVID-19 Pandemic also demonstrated that panic buying can be trigger by uncertain economic, social, and environmental conditions. This highlights the importance of food safety and stability. As chips and dried fruits are staples of many Australian diets, it is important that we have enough dried food to meet future stockpiling needs. Dried fruit like apricots, dried apple, and sultanas made up 12% of the total fruit served in Australia during 2019-2020.

What Drought Does To Dried Foods Fruits

Depending on the type of produce and manufacturer, dried Australian produce can either be dry in Australia or abroad. The cellular structure of fruits and vegetables undergoes significant changes during drying. Tissues and cells can shrink or change in shape, while becoming more compact.

Uncontrolled drying can cause undesirable properties that could affect the food’s appearance and taste, as well as reducing its market value and nutritional content. This is why drought can make things more difficult. Although we know that drought can cause water shortages in rivers and lakes, research shows it also dry out small plant cells.

If there is an ongoing lack of water in cells, it can cause micro-properties and produce to change. This applies regardless of whether the plants were grown in large farms that span hectares of land or small pots in your yard. Fruits and vegetables can become fatigued by repeated droughts, even before they are harvested. The plant’s structure is affected by drought. It’s a little like when a wire is bent repeatedly and eventually breaks.

Droughts, for example, can cause plants such as apples to become more fragile and un processable. Droughts can also lead to smaller plants, and consequently lower harvests. The extreme drought conditions can cause severe moisture loss and damage to the plants. This means that dried foods like potato chips, sultanas, and dried apple could be affected if they continue to persist.

This Problem Can Solve With Supercomputing Fruits

We know that produce damaged by droughts is difficult to process, tastes different, and sometimes is even unusable. What can we do to stop it? It is obvious that recurring droughts and climate change can avoid. This would also help to avoid adverse effects on dried foods. Global emissions must first and foremost reduce quickly and urgently. What if it is impossible to avoid it? We will need a solid Plan B in this situation.

Australian engineers and researchers like myself have been asking the following question: Can we alter drying processes to match drought-affected produce’s changing properties? This could allow dried food processing industries to preserve the quality, taste and market value of their products.

It won’t be simple. We must first understand how water affects the shape and size of plant cells. This requires supercomputing and computer simulations. These simulations can use to predict if cells will be damage during drying. Simulations can help us determine the best drying conditions if we discover that there will be severe damage. We can optimize the temperature, humidity, and drying time to minimize adverse effects.

This can result in significant time and money savings, as well as increased quality and shelf-life of dried foods. Extended computer modelling and simulations can used to achieve industrial drying, which will increase food security and stability. Even though we may have to face more severe droughts in the future, it is possible that your potato chips will still taste great.

Reduce Food Waste At Home Best Evidence-Based

Reduce Food Waste At Home Best Evidence-Based

The modern food system is plague by waste from the farm to the table. A third of the food produced in the world each year (or 1.3 billion tonnes) ends up as trash. It’s like shopping for three groceries and then throwing one away when you go. Food waste is a major contributor to climate change. More than 5% of Australia‚Äôs greenhouse gas emissions are cause by food waste. This doesn’t even include emissions from the actual production of the food, such as farming or transport.

The home is one of the most prolific sources of food waste. Australian households dispose of approximately 2.5 million tonnes each year. This amounts to approximately A$2,000-$2,500 per household in food value per year. There is good news. Today’s Australian-first research identified six of the most effective behaviours anyone can adopt to reduce food waste. These small, yet significant changes can make all the difference.

What Food We Did

Food waste in households is a complicate problem that can be influence by many factors. Some factors, like food type, packaging size, and safety standards are beyond the control of consumers. Some are small daily habits we can change such as not buying enough, forgetting to put food in your fridge, eating too many leftovers, and cooking too much.

We wanted to understand more about the complexity of household food waste. Our research was conduct in collaboration with Oz Harvest, Australia’s largest food rescue organization. We sought to identify and prioritize evidence-based measures to reduce food waste.

To reduce food waste, we reviewed Australian and international literature and conducted online workshops with 30 experts. These actions can be grouped as: shopping planning, shopping, storing food at your home, cooking, and eating.

This was a daunting number of behaviours to consider, and many people would not know where to begin. We then asked national and international experts on food waste to rank the behaviours according to their contribution in reducing food wasted. Additionally, we surveyed over 1,600 households in Australia. Participants were asked questions about each behaviour:

  • The mental effort required to think and plan.
  • How much it costs (financial expense) to adopt the behaviour
  • Household fit refers to the effort required to adopt the behaviour based on the different food preferences and schedules of the household members.
  • According to consumers, the biggest barrier to reducing food was mental effort.

What We Found

The three most effective ways to reduce food waste are the top behaviours that we identified. They are also very easy to implement qq online.

  • Make a weekly dinner at home. It should include foods that is still in season.
  • For foods that are not in use, designate a shelf in your fridge or pantry.
  • To ensure that the correct amount of food is being cooked, it’s important to check with the family before you start cooking.

These actions are relatively simple, but we were surprised to find that few Australians had a shelf for use it up in their fridge or pantry or checked the number of people who will be eating before they cook a meal. Experts found that a weekly use it up meal is the best way to reduce foods waste. This is something many consumers already do at home. However, there are plenty of opportunities for others to try it.

Some consumers are more skilled players and have included the above behaviors in their daily routines at home. Our research revealed three additional behaviors that require slightly more effort for these consumers.

Do A Weekly Audit Of Food Waste And Establish Reduction Goals

  • When shopping, make a list of all the items you want to buy and follow it.
  • Plan your meals for the next three to four days.
  • Our research revealed that there were many actions which, while valuable for many reasons, experts believed to be less effective in reducing foods waste. These actions were less likely to be taken up by consumers. These actions were:
  • Preservation of perishable foods by saucing, pickling, or stewing for later uses
  • Make a list of all foods leftovers (bones, peels) and keep them in a freezer for future use
  • Buy foods at local specialty shops (such as butchers and greengrocers) instead of large supermarkets.

Doing Our Part

Today is the International Day of Awareness of Foods Loss and Waste by the United Nations. This day aims to raise awareness and encourage action to support a key goal of the global Sustainable Development Goals, which aims to reduce foods loss and to eliminate all forms of waste by 2030. Australia has already signed up for this goal and we hope that this research will help speed up those efforts.

Oz Harvest today launches its national Use-It-Up campaign to reduce foods waste. The campaign aims to provide information, resources, and tips for Australians. We also created a decision-making tool that will help policy makers identify appropriate foods waste behaviour based on our findings. Australia and the rest of the world can no longer throw away perfectly edible foods. But everyone has to play their part.