Rising food prices are changing what we eat reveals new global food survey: Oxfam

Campaigns and Advocacy, Media Releases, News article written on the 16 Jun 2011

Australians and people around the world are changing what they eat because of the rising cost of food, according to a new global survey released today by international aid agency Oxfam as part of its new campaign GROW.

62 per cent of Australians surveyed are no longer eating the same foods they did two years ago, and 39 per cent of them attributed this to rising food prices.

The survey was conducted by international research consultancy GlobeScan and involved 16 000 people in 17 countries including Australia, Brazil, Germany, Ghana, Guatemala, India, Kenya, Mexico, Netherlands, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Tanzania, UK and the USA.

Globally, 54 per cent of overall respondents surveyed said they are not eating the same food as they did two years ago – the period before the current food price crisis began – and 39 per cent of those who said their diet had changed blamed the rising price of food.

Oxfam Australia Executive Director Andrew Hewett said he hoped the findings would start a debate about how we grow and share food so everyone has enough to eat in a world where one in seven people are going hungry.

“Food is one of life’s greatest pleasures and one of our most fundamental human rights but our diets are changing fast and for too many people it is a change for the worst,” Mr Hewett said.

“Large numbers of people in Australia and especially in the world’s poorest countries are cutting back on the quantity or quality of the food they eat because of rising food prices.”

The GlobeScan survey found the two most important factors concerning Australians about what they eat are the cost of food and how healthy and nutritious it is.

Separate interviews conducted by Oxfam in Australia revealed interesting consumer trends including a high proportion of Australians growing some of the food they eat.

Among the Australians included in these additional interviews was former Masterchef winner and GROW campaign ambassador Julie Goodwin.

“The important factor for me when I am choosing food for my family is that it has got to be healthy. It has got to be nutritious, I like it to be fresh, and I don’t like to serve them a lot of processed food,” Ms Goodwin said.

Similar additional interviews conducted by Oxfam overseas provide further anecdotal evidence that many people in developing countries are either eating less food, eating cheaper items or enjoying less diversity in their diets as a result of rising food prices.

For more information and interviews, please contact Oxfam Australia Media Coordinator Sunita Bose on 0407 555 960.

Notes to editors In total 16,421 citizens in 17 countries, were interviewed online, by telephone, and by face-to-face between 6 April and 6 May 2011. The survey was conducted for Oxfam by the international research consultancy GlobeScan. The majority of the countries were surveyed online, while a few participated through telephone or face-to-face interviews. Online samples were structured to be representative of the online population in the country in question; in some countries this profile will differ from the national population profile due to lower levels of internet connectivity. Results of this research are considered accurate to within 2.1 to 4.4 percent (depending on the country) of the true incidence in the population in question, 19 times out of 20 in each of the 17 countries.