Almost a quarter of Americans struggle to afford food

May 23, 2013
May 23, 2013

A new Pew Research report on emerging economies finds that almost a quarter of Americans have trouble affording food. “This reported level of deprivation is closer to that in Indonesia or Greece rather than Britain or Canada,” the report says.

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Why is this the case?

According to numbers from the USDA, the moderate costs to healthfully feed a family of four a week costs $191, including meals and snacks, up 38% from 10 years ago. Food inflation was about 5% last year after a drought led to an increase in corn, wheat, and soybean prices, which in turned raised the price of chicken, pork, and beef. With continued unpredictability in weather affecting crops and higher demand from a growing population, it’s likely that food prices will only continue to rise.

But the US has the worst income inequality among developed economies; 15% of the population uses food stamps. As economist Joseph Stiglitz has argued, the income inequality in the US is not only holding back a recovery but also setting up the nation for future economic instability.

The technorati is busy brewing up a single-source omnifood, the FAO has been urging people for years to eat insects, and NASA wants astronauts to eat 3D-printed food. But here on earth, an estimated 40% of the food produced in the US is wasted.

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