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Food Price Inflation: Not all are affected in the same way

The importance and timeliness of the TRANSFOP programme of research is highlighted in two reports launched in the last two weeks. Oxfam’s Growing a Better Future highlights what it sees as problems of the global food system in coping with a changing set of circumstances that determine world food prices. Predicting price increases for staple grains of between 120-180% over the next two decades the report calls for greater examination of food chains and the ways in which price volatility can be contained to ensure the world’s poorest consumers are able to feed themselves.

The theme of the poorest being most affected by food price inflation is contained in a report by the UK’s Institute for Fiscal Studies The Inflation Experience of Older Households. In it the report highlights how rising fuel, energy and importantly food prices have disproportionately affected poorer consumers and especially those on pensions over the 2008-10 period. The poorest 20% of households saw inflation at 4.3% whereas for the richest 20% the rate was only 2.7%. In emphasising the role food played, the report highlights that the poorest fifth of households spend 19.6% of income on food whereas the richest fifth spend only 10.1% of income on food.

These distributional effects are a significant part of the food inflation landscape and are a key focus for the TRANSFOP research team during the project. Our work can help inform this debate and potentially shape policy in EU member states.

Posted by: Wyn Morgan, University of Nottingham

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