Food products are dependent on a variety of inputs to get them from farm to table. Food prices are very reactive to inflation and non-economic supply chain disruptions. When necessary resources such as fertilizer, transportation, energy, and fuel are limited or expensive, the cost of food production will go up.
Consumers find the rising cost of production directly reflected in the retail prices they encounter each time they walk into a grocery store.
Food security is a concept that is often misunderstood. At its core, food security is a state where an entire population has equitable access to a sufficient amount of safe and nutritious food. Households that are food insecure may not consume enough calories and nutrients on a daily or weekly basis. They also may be forced to compromise on healthy food choices in favor of cheap, less nutrient-dense options due to both cost and availability.
A report from Arlington County, Virginia, showed that when households faced financial challenges in covering expenses, the food budget is frequently the first thing impacted. The food budget is impacted so other basic essentials like rent and utilities can be covered.
Food Insecurity is Continuing to Spike
During the height of the shutdowns, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported fourteen million households qualified as being food insecure in 2020.