Skip to main content Skip to navigation

International Food Prices actually Higher than for Most of Modern History: Why don’t more people know?

Real food prices graph 

Webinar with Dr Alastair Smith

The presentation provides a critical interrogation of contemporary knowledge about international food prices, elaborating on a recently accepted contribution to the journal Nature.

The United Nation’s Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) methodology for the construction of its Food Price Index (FFPI) focuses on “nominal” price changes and trends. Using such data indeed produces the conclusion that while prices grew 20% in 2021, they remain below their peak in 2012. This is the dominant discourse in global media and institutional foresight, and likely defines political and institutional decision making. The reporting of nominal prices has a logic, but also limitations. Where we are rightly concerned with “food security”, it is more relevant to focus on inflation adjusted, or “real” food prices. The FAO’s “real” food price index, shows a steady decline from the 1960s to the year 2000. However, after the turn of the millennium “real prices began to rise. Exacerbated by the COVID pandemic, the real average price of food is currently the highest it has been for the entirety of modern history, apart from during the oil crisis of the 1970s. It is important to update the received approach to evaluating international food prices. Such moves can provoke intensified action to reduce risks of growing food inaccessibility. Such practical action would boost diminishing confidence in achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal of “No Hunger” and arrest currently worsening global nutritional standards.

Wednesday 2nd February 2022 - 16:30 - 17:30, MS Teams.

Alastair Smith is a Senior Teaching Fellow in the Division of Global Sustainable Development, University of Warwick. He is a transdisciplinary academic, specialising in Education for GSD, as well as subject focuses such as food security. He is widely published in academic and media sources, including a contribution to The Conversation on the topic of this webinar.

Please register your attendance on the form below.
Where did you hear about this event?
Privacy notice

This form will be used to manage attendance at this event. Your attendance at the event will be recorded and associated with your details. The data is for the use of the University and will not be disclosed to external organisations, other than those acting as agents for the University. Your data is also subject to the University’s Stakeholder Privacy Notice and the central University Data Protection Policy. You may withdraw from these communications at any time by contacting Data Services at dataservices@warwick.ac.uk.

The University of Warwick is the Data Controller of any information you have entered on this form and is committed to protecting the rights of individuals in line with Data Protection Legislation. The University's Data Protection webpages provide further information on your rights and how the University processes personal data. Please submit any data subject rights requests to infocompliance@warwick.ac.uk or address any complaints or suspected breaches to the University's Data Protection Officer at DPO@warwick.ac.uk.

Spam prevention