For most of us, buying nutritious foods means spending more money. Ever wondered why? Factors propelling the cost of nutritious foods are found across food systems, in the realms of food supply chains, food production, food environments, consumer demand, and the political economy of food. Let’s have a look at those factors in depth.
- Food supply chains
Along the food supply chain, food losses and inefficiencies are key drivers of the cost of nutritious foods. Such inefficiencies and losses are a result of poor road infrastructure, inadequate food storage, and insufficient capacity for food preservation, especially for foods that are highly perishable.
- Food production
In food production, the key drivers of the cost of nutritious foods are high production risks, low levels of productivity, and limited diversification towards the production of more healthy foods, especially in low-income countries.
- Food environments
Poor food environments in both urban and rural areas also represent a barrier to accessing healthy diets, most particularly for the poor. They represent the lack of physical access to food markets, especially ones selling fresh fruit and vegetables.
- Consumer demand
The rapid rates of urbanization have led to an increase in work-away and eat-away-from-home habits. This has directly increased the demand for foods that are easy-to-prepare, highly processed, or convenience foods that often have high sugar, fat, and/or salt content, are energy-dense and do not exactly count as healthy diets.
- Political economy
Trade policies, especially input funding programs and protectionary trade measures, veer towards protection and incentivizing of the local production of staple foods, like maize and rice, often at the disadvantage of nutritious foods, such as fruits and vegetables. Non-tariff trade measures can assist in enhancing food safety, nutritional value, and quality standards of food. Unfortunately, they can also lead to an increase in the costs of trade and hence food prices, thereby negatively impacting the affordability of healthy diets.
Tackling some of the above factors to reduce the cost of healthy foods signals the need to also address environmental consequences related to the current food systems, and the unseen cost they create, especially at the food production level and at the consumption level. With an in-depth knowledge of food security and its impact on livelihoods, you can develop advanced skills needed to steer the world to achieve zero hunger. Our course in Food Security & Nutrition in Emergencies offers you exactly what you are looking for to take your career to the next level. Enroll with us today and enjoy a 10% discount!