Consumption patterns and nutrition

Food prices

Consumption and food markets - Food prices
Image: via Flickr (by: Jeff Kramer)

A rapid increase in food prices that caused riots in several countries in 2008 has played a role in putting food and nutrition security back on the international development agenda. Especially poor urban dwellers are sensitive to changes in food prices as they rely primarily on market purchases and food purchases account for the bulk of their expenditure. In this topic, the focus is on the dynamics that influence food prices and the effects that changing food prices have on food and nutrition security.

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Trading-off volatility and distortions? Food policy during price spikes
Published by Food Policy Journal,
This paper analyses the trade-off between price distortions and reduced volatility when governments intervened in agricultural and food markets during the recent food price spikes and concludes that there is much room for policy improvement. The authors develop a model to derive how much distortions a government would introduce when it cares about price stability in a situation with limited policy options and show that there is a trade-off and identify the optimal combination of distortions and stability for given international price shocks and interest groups preferences for stability. »
Sources of food price volatility and child malnutrition in Niger and Malawi
Published by Food Policy,
This article investigates how other indicators than just international food price spikes influence food price volatility and child malnutrition in Niger and Malawi. In recent times, considerable attention has been paid to the nutritional impact of the sharp hikes in the international food prices which took place in 2007–8 and 2010–11. While understandable, this growing focus has perhaps obscured the impact of other variables affecting malnutrition in Sub-Saharan Africa. »
Managing food price volatility: Policy options to support healthy diets and nutrition in the context of uncertainty
Published by Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition,
This policy brief identifies policy interventions that can anticipate and mitigate the negative dietary and nutritional outcomes of price volatility and market uncertainty. Food price volatility is a serious global concern. Since the food crisis of 2008, the world has struggled to address unexpected, rapid rises and falls in global food prices, which have sparked political unrest and increased economic risks across the food system. »
Debunking the ‘new normal’: Why world food prices are expected to resume their long run downward trend
Published by Global Food Security,
This article argues that contrary to the opinions expressed by many commentators, the recent episode of higher prices for agricultural commodities is likely a transitory phenomenon. When compared to the last half-century, population growth is expected to be much slower in the coming decades, with nearly all of the growth occurring in lower income countries, where added population places less pressure on global markets. »
Global crop prices below last year’s levels, some spikes at the country level
Published by Food Security Portal,
his article on the Food Security Portal states that international cereal prices remain significantly below last year’s levels due to abundant global supplies and strong export competition. While the Food Price Monitoring and Analysis of FAO shows that cereal prices are low, the regional story is more mixed. Grain prices continued to decline in most West African countries, but maize prices have soared throughout southern Africa, particularly South Africa and Malawi. »
Promoting local foods in small island states: examining the willingness-to-pay of consumers
Published by Food Policy Journal,
This article examines the willingness-to-pay of consumers on small island states for locally produced and organic food products. To attain food security, successful production in agriculture is key. The authors argue that to this end, strategies are needed that tackle agricultural development through the production and consumption of sustainable food products. »
Global food prices continue to fall despite climate concerns
Published by Financial Times,
This article in the Financial Times elaborates on the impact of extreme weather on food prices and on the reasons for the declining global food prices despite climate concerns and the impacts of El Niño. International food prices, including sugar and dairy, have been falling for the past four years, with only one exceptional spike in October, particularly for sugar. The sudden spike in sugar prices illustrated the economic impact of the unusual weather events triggered by El Niño, which is expected to further disrupt commodity prices in 2016. »
The state of agricultural commodity markets 2015-16
Published by FAO,
This report from the Food and Agriculture Organization elaborates on the relations between trade and food security. It aims to reduce the current polarization of views on the impacts of agricultural trade on food security and on the manner in which agricultural trade should be governed to ensure that increased trade openness is beneficial to all countries. Rules governing international trade of food and agricultural products should be crafted with an eye to improving countries' food security and other development objectives. »
Explaining grain and oilseed price volatility: The role of export restrictions
Published by Food Policy Journal,
This article examines the impact that export restrictions have on price volatility. Since 2007 food prices have become significantly higher and more volatile. This impacts food security because it affects household incomes and purchasing power. A more and more frequent response to price volatility is the use of export restrictions to stabilize domestic prices. However, when a country is a large exporter, the restrictions can even increase global price volatility. »
Food security under climate change
Published by Nature Climate Change,
n this article in Nature Climate Change Hertel argues that using food prices to assess climate change impacts on food security is misleading. Since climate changes has different impacts on income a broader measure of household well-being, like changes in absolute poverty, is needed. Household food consumption depends on the balance between prices and income. Many farmers and farm workers benefit from higher food prices through better sales, more jobs or higher wages, as long as they sell more than they buy. »
How does a shorter supply chain affect pricing of fresh food? Evidence from a natural experiment
Published by Food Policy Journal,
This article elaborated on the impacts of shorter supply chains on the prices of fresh food in Turkey. The market for fresh food is often characterized by a large number of intermediaries delivering the product from the farmer to the retailer. The existence of these intermediaries is often claimed to introduce market frictions that push fresh food prices up. Using data from a policy reform in Turkey in the market for fresh fruit and vegetables, the authors tested the hypothesis that scaling down these frictions reduces the level of prices. »
Price stabilization and impacts of trade liberalization in the Southeast Asian rice market
Published by Food Policy Journal,
This article investigates the impact of trade liberalization in major rice trading countries of Southeast Asia. It focus its attention on the price stabilization mechanism that were adopted by governments in Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines. »
An exploratory study of changing consumption patterns and the inclination to engage in food-related protests
Published by Sustainability Journal,
This article argues that the relationship between riots, dietary patterns and the willingness to riot is not straightforward since the changes in consumption of different food groups influence the willingness to riot in different ways. After the widespread food riots in 2008, some authors argued that higher food prices cause political unrest, or food riots. Nevertheless, research has demonstrated that political, cultural, and economic factors confound the impact of price in determining whether a food riot occurs. »
Delicious, Disgusting, Dangerous: Eating in a time of food price volatility
Published by IDS and Oxfam,
This report (PDF) by IDS and Oxfam highlights the third year results of the study Life in a Time of Food Price Volatility, with a focus on changes in diets. The report explores what people on low and precarious incomes are eating now and how they are responding to the increasing commodification of food. Furthermore, the paper uncovers how these changes are linked to adjustments in work, residence and home life. »
Household-specific food price differentials and high-value crop production in rural Ghana
Published by Food Policy Journal,
This article in Food Policy Journal examined the relationship between household-specific producer–consumer food price differentials and rural household cropland allocation between food and high-value crops. The authors tested the hypothesis that cereal price bands induce a shift of resources away from high-value crop production, making smallholders appear unresponsive to price incentives. »
Habitual choice strategy, poverty and urban consumer demand for biofortified iron beans in developing countries: An application of random-effects double hurdle model
Published by ResearchGate,
This article scrutinizes the urban consumer demand for nutritious foods in the context of bio-fortified iron beans as a public health intervention in Africa. The increasing urbanization process in developing countries creates current and future challenges for the global food system to deliver high quality nutritious foods and provide equitable access for the urban poor. This paper examines the role of habit, poverty and information for urban consumer demand of nutritious foods. »
Are lower commodity prices a good thing?
Published by IFPRI Food Security Portal,
This blog by Joseph Glauber , Senior Research Fellow at IFPRI, asks the question: are lower prices a good thing for the world? The author highlights that lower food prices could mean that households will have more money to spend on food and other household expenditures, but the impact for many will likely be small. »
The impacts of food price and income shocks on household food security and economic well-being: Evidence from rural Bangladesh
Published by MPRA,
This paper at MPRA examines the combined impacts of food price and income shocks on household food security and economic well-being in low-income rural communities. Using longitudinal survey data of 1,800 rural households from 12 districts of Bangladesh over the period 2007–2009, the authors estimated a three-stage hierarchical logit model to identify the key sources of household food insecurity. »
Agricultural commodity price shocks and their effect on growth in Sub-Saharan Africa
Published by Journal of Agricultural Economics,
This article in the Journal of Agricultural Economics, examines the importance of agricultural price shocks to economic growth in selected Sub-Saharan Africa countries. The novel aspect of this study is that the authors determine whether the response of per capita GDP for the selected Sub-Saharan African countries is different to unexpected increases in agricultural commodity prices as opposed to decreases in prices. »
Food price spikes relation to malnutrition among children in Andhra Pradesh, India
Published by The Journal of Nutrition,
This article in the The Journal of Nutrition, investigated the associations between food price spikes and childhood malnutrition in Andhra Pradesh, one of India’s largest states. The authors tested the hypothesis that the escalating prices of rice, legumes, eggs, and other staples of Indian diets significantly increased the risk of wasting (weight-for-height z scores) in children. »
Price shocks, vulnerability and food and nutrition security among rural and urban households in Tanzania
Published by AIEAA,
This paper (PDF) by the Italian Association of Agricultural and Applied Economics (AIEAA), investigates the impact of the recent food price crisis on the quantity and quality of the dietary composition of rural and urban households in Tanzania. Results using household data from the 2008/09, 2010/11 and 2012/13 waves of the Tanzania National Panel Survey show that urban households are more vulnerable than rural households to food price shocks. »
Food price spikes and poor, small economies: What role for trade policies?
Published by African Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics,
This paper in the African Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics reviews conceptually, and then empirically for a sample of small and poor economies, the role of trade measures for achieving the social objective of assisting those hurt by sharp changes in food prices. »
Food price watch June 2015
Published by The World Bank,
International food prices declined 14% between August 2014 and May 2015, sliding into a five-year low and continuing the sharp price declines observed in previous months. This issue of the Food Price Watch reflects on the unforeseen breadth and depth of the current oil price crash, and the potential impacts it might have on international food prices, poverty, and inequality. It includes following headings: global price trends; domestic price trends; and linking international oil and food prices. »
The short-term impact of price shocks on food security-Evidence from urban and rural Ethiopia
Published by Food Security Journal,
This study in the Food Security Journal, investigates the impact of food price changes on food security in urban and rural Ethiopia. The results indicate that increases in cereal prices are generally, but not always, associated with households having a lower number of meals and switching to less preferred foods. »
Do high food prices and droughts fuel conflict?
Published by IFPRI,
This IFPRI blogs shares highlights from Chapter 7 of the 2014-2015 Global Food Policy Report. The blog shows that natural disasters aggravate existing civil conflicts or may contribute to fueling new conflicts, by intensifying social tensions, by deepening inequalities between groups or by raising food prices. Also, food price shocks are both a determinant and effect of conflict. »
How do governments respond to food price volatility?
Published by UNU-WIDER,
A collaborative project between Cornell University, University of Copenhagen, and UNU-WIDER on the political economy of food price policy studied how selected governments responded to increasing food price volatility, and explains why they responded as they did. On the basis of the findings from the 16 study countries, eight policy recommendations are given. »
Food price policy in an era of market instability: A political economy analysis
Published by Oxford Scholarship Online,
This book tries to enhance knowledge on responses to price volatility of governments and on the political economy of agricultural policy-making in general. The analysis starts from the global food crises of 2007-9 when prices surged for key staple food commodities and uses the variety of reactions from governments of different countries to generate knowledge on responses to price volatility. Since governments experienced similar food price shocks, the author argues that this case offers an excellent natural experiment for generating this knowledge. »
Short- and long-run impacts of food price changes on poverty
Published by World Bank,
This study (PDF) by the World Bank, aims to assess the impacts of changes in global food prices on poverty in individual countries and for the world as a whole. Household models based on detailed expenditure and agricultural production data from 31 developing countries were used. »
Food Price Crisis Observatory
Published by World Bank,
The Food Price Crisis Observatory by the World Bank is an interactive information platform for policymakers, civil society and global organizations, the private sector and anyone else interested in identifying multi-country food crises as they unfold, tracking where and why food riots take place, and monitoring country-specific policies that can mitigate food price crises. Four modules are covered, providing an integrated approach to food crisis monitoring. »
Climate and environmental change: views from life in a time of food price volatility
Published by IDS,
This discussion paper (PDF) by IDS explores the views of people living on low and precarious incomes on the connections between food price changes and climate and environmental change. It is based on the 2012 findings of the four-year (2012–2015) Oxfam–IDS research project “Life in a Time of Food Price Volatility”. »
Analysis of banana value chains and impacts on small farmers & workers
Published by Oxfam,
This blog post by Oxfam highlights the role of supermarket chains, especially discount retailers, on food prices. It is stated that German supermarket chains are partly responsible for substantially undercutting the legal minimum price for bananas in countries such as Ecuador, which has dire consequences for small agricultural producers and plantation workers. »
Netherlands Food Partnership

The F&BKP is continuing in Netherlands Food Partnership: find more knowledge & expertise at the NFP website.