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Food Prices: An Overview of Current Evidence

DescriptionThis paper provides an overview of the current situation with regards to food prices, outlines the main factors behind recent trends and considers the future for food prices.
Official Print Publication Date
Website Publication DateJune 26, 2009


ISBN 978 0 7559 9052 8 (Web only publication)

This document is also available in pdf format (372k)

This overview was prepared as part of the evidence base in support of the development of Scotland's Food and Drink Policy. It informed Workstream 5 on Access, Affordability and Security. It summarises current evidence but is not a systematic review of the literature.

Rural and Environment Analytical Services
Rural and Environment Research and Analysis Directorate
The Scottish Government


1. Executive Summary

2. Introduction

3. Recent Trends in Food Prices
3.1 Global
3.2 The European Union
3.4 Scotland

4.Factors influencing food prices
4.1 Structural demand-side factors
4.2 Structural supply-side factors
4.3 Temporary supply-side factors
4.4 Speculation

5.Price Transmission
5.1 Price transmission and asymmetry of adjustment
5.2 Share of the retail price along the food supply chain

6.Consumer Response to Food Price Increases
6.1 The Income Effect
6.2 The Substitution Effect
6.3 Food demand price elasticities
6.4 Distributional impact - by income level
6.5 Distributional impact - by geographical disparities
6.6 Impact on diet

7.Market failure and food and drink prices
7.1 Food as a merit and de-merit good
7.2 Externalities in Food and Drink Consumption
7.3 Food prices and the environment

8.Future for food prices
8.1 Long-term scenarios
8.2 Near-term outlook

Appendix - Healthy Eating Indicator Shopping Basket