Food Costs Dictate the Way the World Eats

Food Costs Dictate the Way the World Eats

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Have you ever wondered why people eat the thing that they eat? Consumers are likely to buy the same products that they’ve always enjoyed – right? A new survey shows the answer may not be as simple as this.

People across the world are changing their diet because of the rising cost of food, according to a global opinion poll conducted by the independent research firm GlobeScan and released by Oxfam today as part of its GROW campaign. Agriculture Ministers from the G20 countries, including USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, meet in France next week and will discuss the global food price crisis.

The independent poll was conducted in 17 countries around the world, surveying more than 16,000 people. In the US, 56 percent of respondents said they are not eating the same food as they did two years ago: 31 percent because of the cost of food (compared to 39 percent globally) and 49 percent for health reasons (compared to 33 percent globally).

Rising food cost was by far the biggest food worry, with 73 percent of Americans (66 percent of people globally) citing it as one of their top concerns. 43 percent of people in the US and globally said that the healthiness or nutritional value of the food they and their families ate was also a key concern. Rising oil and transport costs and the impact of extreme and erratic weather were most frequently mentioned by Americans as the main factors affecting food supply.

“The consequences of the world-wide rise in food prices are very apparent in these survey results,” said Oliver Martin, Research Director of GlobeScan. “The cost of food is by some distance the dominant concern that people have about what they and their family eat.”

“The tragedy is that anxiety over food prices is soaring at a time of overall strong global harvests,” said Frances Moore Lappe, author and Oxfam Sister on the Planet. “What’s sadly missed is some great news-that the hungriest people are actually part of the solution to both hunger and climate change. Millions of small farmers worldwide are proving they can increase yields using ecological practices and at the same time store more carbon compared to chemical farming.”

– Food Processing

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