Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Economy

The decisions of everyone in the food chain – from farmers, to distributors and consumers – are heavily influenced by economic factors such as price, risk and resource availability. The food economy is composed of a complicated, global network of trade, which today connects producers and consumers at scales never seen before. Subsidies for food production exist in almost all nations; some reject these as market distorting while others hail them for their ability to ensure sufficient national/regional supply of food at all times and to protect farmers. Foods that are traded as commodities are subject to volatile markets and also show the intimate connection between food prices and other sectors, such as oil.

Photo: United Soybean Board, "Corn field", Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0 generic.
21 June 2017

This article examines how big food companies contend with some of the issues involved in efforts to improve the sustainability of their raw material supply chains. It argues that these large companies often operate in long, complex, and traditionally non-transparent supply chains that make it difficult for them to exert real influence over producers. ‘Big food’ is the description given to the world’s largest and most influential companies in the food and beverages markets.

Photo: harmishhk, "éolienne", Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0 generic.
21 June 2017

This study presents estimates of how changes in climate might affect the value of European farmland. Based on data for over 41 000 farms, the results suggest that their economic value could drop by up to 32%, depending on the climate scenario considered. The models represent severe, moderate and mild outcomes, respectively.  Farms in southern Europe are particularly sensitive to climate change and could suffer value losses of up to 9% per 1 °C rise.

26 May 2017

This research from USDA’s Economic Research Service looks at trends in consumer demand for organic food since the 1990s and developments in organic production.

Photo: naturalbornstupid, meat, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0 generic.
16 May 2017

A Global Meat News survey of top industry professionals analysing trading trends and impacts on the meat industry globally shows that most respondents (24%) stated that the pressure to limit meat consumption was the factor that hit the industry as a whole the hardest in 2016. 

16 May 2017

The website resourcetrade.earth developed by Chatham House enables users to explore the dynamics of international trade in natural resources (including food and agricultural commodities), the sustainability implications of such trade, and the related interdependencies that emerge between importing and exporting countries and regions.

25 April 2017

This policy brief, produced by the PBL – the Netherlands environmental assessment agency, investigates the integrated approach that would be needed to making the food chain more circular. In a circular food chain, raw materials are used in a way that adds the most value to the economy and causes the least harm to the environment.

Creative commons licence 2.0, Vanessa lollipop Flickr "Borough Market"
24 March 2017

From FCRN member Professor Amir Sharif from Brunel University, we are including this recent article in The European Financial Review entitled “Food Security In The UK: A Post-Brexit View”. In it the authors discuss what factors the UK needs to consider post-Brexit in order to ensure consistent, safe and secure food production, supply and consumption.

You can read the article here (requires free registration).

15 March 2017

This report from the UK free market think tank Institute of Economic Affairs claims that healthy food is actually cheaper than ‘junk food’. In drawing this conclusion the IEA also states that taxes on unhealthy foods (consumed as they say disproportionately by people with low incomes) is unlikely to be enough to change consumer behaviour and will be regressive - it will hit poorer people the hardest. 

Image credit: Hernán García Crespo, ‘Refrescos’, Flickr, Creative commons licence
28 February 2017

Concerns about the links between trade and investment agreements and the spread of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) have seen increasing scholarly attention in the past years. Reviewing 44 low- and middle-income countries over 13 years, this paper aims to provide a generalizable analysis of how trade and investment liberalisation has affected the growth in sales of SSBs, contributing to the evidence base on how international trade impacts health.

Photo credit: World Trade Organization, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0
21 February 2017

In international trade agreements, restrictions on goods or demands for labelling which differ from country to country can be ‘barriers to trade’, effectively restricting the free movement of goods. Trade organisations which manage such agreements, such as the World Trade Organisation (WTO), have mechanisms in place to ensure that environmental or public health measures are not in fact ‘disguised restrictions on international trade’ which aim to protect national industries. Formal processes exist in the WTO to query public health and environment regulations for their ‘trade restrictiveness’, their necessity and the possibility of using alternatives.

15 February 2017

A newly revised edition of Tim Jackson’s important 2009 Prosperity without Growth has been published by Routledge. In it, Jackson aims to demonstrate that building a ‘post-growth’ economy is a precise, definable and meaningful task.

31 January 2017

This World Economic Forum report explores four alternate visions of the world and its food systems in 2030. The key predictable forces of change are used as a base and the critical uncertainties of ‘Demand Shift’ and ‘Market Connectivity’ are used as axes to derive the four scenarios. 

19 December 2016

The Nexus2020 project has published a report in which academics and business leaders worked together to identify the most important questions around sustainability for businesses. It specifically focuses on so-called ‘nexus’ issues: the interconnections between food, water, energy and the natural environment.

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