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547. Rise in Retail Prices of Nutritious Foods in Countries with More COVID-19 Cases

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We have featured several times how the COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on global food and nutrition supplies. In this issue, we present an article on its relationship with retail food prices published in Nature Food. 
 
The COVID-19 pandemic has threatened lives and livelihoods around the world and caused volatility in food prices. However, despite various news reports of food price hikes and temporary food shortages, agricultural production and distribution have generally continued to function without extreme shortages or government rationing.
 
While food market analysis often focuses on a small number of wholesale commodities with high transaction volumes, this paper attempts to measure the resilience of the global food supply chain from monthly changes in average retail food prices around the world. The monthly retail food prices were compared and analyzed for changes over time from January 2019 to June 2021 in up to 181 countries.
 
Compared to the overall consumer price index since March 2020, average food prices have clearly increased. Furthermore, there were significant increases, especially in countries with a high number of COVID-19 cases per population and especially in some food groups (dairy products, eggs, meat, legumes, and nuts). These food groups are often highly nutritious and can pose a threat to nutritional security.
 
It was also found that average retail prices do not necessarily correspond to international food price movements in the agricultural trade. Analyzing retail prices by food group would complement data on agricultural commodity prices and consumer price indexes to help guide policies that contribute to resilience and response to shocks.

Reference
Yan Bai et al. (2022). Retail prices off nutritious food rose more in countries with higher COVID-19 case counts. Nature food 3, 325-330. https://doi.org/10.1038/s43016-022-00502-1

Contributor: SHIRATORI Sakiko (Information and Public Relations Office)