Will food prices continue to rise in the near future?



  1. 0 Votes

    Simple answer: Yes.

    Complicated answer: It depends.

    Obviously food prices can’t rise indefinitely, or no one at all would be able to eat. The critical factors in food prices are things such as:

    • Water cost
    • Land availability
    • Crops and other yields, and of course the biggie,
    • Human population

    So the reason, for example, that food prices cannot rise indefinitely is that if they were 20 times higher than they are, probably 99% of the human race would die. At that point food would become affordable again (for example fish populations could recover).

    There are many decisions that could hugely change the price of food, among the most significant, as the pro-veggie folks are fond of pointing out — reduce the amount of meat eaten. But equally, the amount of US corn that being used to create fuel is astounding — if culturally we cut back on energy use (and Europe and North America have the major role in that) then that corn would start being quite low priced!

    But there are other personal decisions people can take, namely to avoid buying expensive food, particularly food that is in some temporary price spike on account of crop failure. An example right now, in May 2012, is pasta. The price has gone up hugely in the last months, while rice has stayed almost the same.

    If people would be willing to try new things, especially cheaper new things, the world might be a very different place, and food prices don’t necessarily need to rise in the near future.

    This is one of those few issues, I think, that can be resolved — easily resolved — by government or by an alert community. 

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