|Home > The “not-so-modern” consumer – considerations on food prices, food security, new technologies and market distortions|
Although food quality and food safety issues seem to dominate discussion and research in Europe, price inflation and economic recession may pose questions over food abundance over the coming years. For the first time since the early seventies, market stability for a number of commodities is seriously questioned. The paper tackles the fluctuation of food prices in the last decade and the reasons behind recent record prices in a series of commodities, trying to investigate whether food shortages may create new problems, even for relatively economically stable nations. Lowering stock levels that induce price volatility, production shortfalls due to adverse conditions that are often correlated to climate change, oil prices, changing diet patterns in regions that have become more affluent in recent decades, trade policies that often contradict one another, financial speculation in food markets all play a distinct role forming today’s reality. The effect of rising food prices is crucially important, at the microeconomic level, for poorer households. The paper tries to investigate whether food security problems -in the sense that all people, at all times, have economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life- may become increasingly important in Europe in the future, as well as the necessary policies to protect those most vulnerable.