Higher food prices are causing people around the world, especially those in poorer nations, to change their diets, and forego quality and quantity of food.
A Globescan survey for Oxfam International has revealed that almost two-fifths of consumers surveyed over 17 countries now eats different food to what they had two years ago.
It is a mixture of health and cost reasons that have led to this change, but with a 37 percent in global food prices, cost is one of the biggest influences. Initially, respondents were asked whether they were eating the same food as two years ago. If there was a change, they were asked whether it was prompted by costs or health reasons.
Worldwide, of the people who said they had changed their diets, 39 percent said it was because of food prices, while 33 percent said it was for health reasons. From developing countries to the UK and the US, the research showed that the cost of food is a worldwide worry.
In the US, where food prices have risen 3.1 percent in the past year, 31 percent of those who had changed their diet (56% of those surveyed) cited costs as the reason, whereas almost half said they were trying to eat more healthily. In Tanzania, however, 47 percent of the respondents had changed their diets, and 49 percent of those said that cost was the reason for it, and only 21 percent cited health. In Kenya, 75 percent of people had changed their diets, and 79 percent of them cited costs as the main reason. The worry is that as the world’s poorest people are hardest hit, they are buying less food, and lower quality food also, which will lead to further health and nutrition problems and less productive nations.