Prices for all foods have risen since the beginning of the year, except for, by the look of this, dairy. Prices of cereals (and the oils associated with them) have been particularly hard hit, with the price of rice leading the pack:
The FAO says this is the result of "a persistent, tight supply and demand situation."
What Is Fueling Demand?
BBC did a nice FAQ on Rising World Food Prices. Their take:
- Growth in the world's population - more mouths to feed.
- Emerging economies such China and India are generating a new tier of middle-class consumers who buy more meat and processed food. "The FAO estimates that processed food now accounts for 80% of food and beverage sales." (Holy cow.)
- Growth in the world's population - puts pressure on resources, including land, water and oil supplies.
- Climate change - causing changing patterns of rainfall, floods, droughts, and desertification - all lowering production.
- Global warming - the shift towards biofuels (which emit fewer greenhouse gases) is reducing the amount of land available for food crops. (Ethanol production will account for 30% of US corn crop by 2010).