It’s not as simple as it seems to eat a healthier diet or even a balanced one. Food prices are a major factor in the disparity between the rich and poor in many countries.
The Broken Plate Report by The Food Foundation, released in June 2023, revealed that on a calorie basis, healthy food costs twice as much as less healthy foods.
High prices, say campaigners, have made it difficult for many families to afford healthy food or healthy alternatives and pushed them towards less healthy, ultra-processed options.
This cost difference makes it worthwhile to focus on fresh fruits and vegetables that are nutrient-rich — they’re essential for a balanced diet.
Fruits and vegetables
As more consumers want to have access year-round to tropical fruit and vegetables, developed countries are becoming increasingly dependent on imports. As a result, the global supply chain has become longer and more complex.
Thijs van Rens, an author of the Warwick Study, told CNBC that the data clearly shows there is a fixed high price for fresh fruits and vegetables but not for other products. This market is inefficient at setting prices.
Van Rens said that ultra-processed foods, which are not perishable, like fresh fruits and vegetables, are becoming more affordable. “Junk food can be stored forever, so it’s cheap. He said that you could buy in bulk or produce in size and then deliver it at a low cost.
There is a strong link between food prices and the healthiness of foods.
The Food Foundation found that the amount of vegetables purchased by British families is at its lowest level for 50 years.
Rebecca Tobi is a senior investor and business manager at The Food Foundation. She said that there are big gaps in the policy regarding how legislators make it easier for people to access healthier food. She told CNBC that the choices available to people are severely limited.
Shortage of labor
According to the International Labour Organization, the agricultural workforce is declining in many countries, particularly in Europe and America.
Many people are no longer interested in farming and agriculture because of its long and unsociable hours, physical demands, and remote rural locations.
Due to the shrinking and aging domestic workforce, developed countries have traditionally relied on seasonal and non-domestic workers. Any shortage of workers will affect the overall stability of the food chain.
The British government is hoping that automation will reduce the need for migrant workers. Japan and other countries with an aging population invest in technologies for autonomous farming.
Automation means that developers will have to invest more in equipment, which could lead to a new increase in the price of the product.
The scarcity of workers is also affecting U.S. farmland, as shown by the steep rise in the number of H-2A visas that American farmers have requested over the past 20 years.
Now, the government uses cloud seeding to increase rainfall artificially. China experienced both extreme heat and devastating floods in the same year, destroying its crops and disrupting food supplies.
The new analysis from the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit found that the combined impact of climate change and energy costs has increased household bills in the U.K. by an average of PS605 ($770). The study found that 60% of the increase was due to climate costs.
What is all this about?
Speaking more broadly, “>An average U.K. consumer now pays 30% more for food than two years ago.
As obesity rates increase around the globe, the availability of healthy foods is decreasing.
World Obesity Federation estimates that without intervention, 51% of the global population will be overweight or obese in the next ten years, with an estimated economic impact of $4.3 trillion.
Van Rens stated that educating the public about healthy eating habits or labeling food products would only be effective for “affluent customers” who are already aware of the impact their diets have on health and the environment.
Most people are interested in food companies re-structuring their products to be healthier or government subsidies that lower the price of fruits and vegetables.