Recent years have seen growing concern over food security. This is mainly due to the volatile nature of food supply and demand in markets. In fact, several factors have surfaced as pointers to food supply and demand trend. This has forced market analysts to study market relations that exist between prospective buyers and sellers of food products. The result of which has raised concern on growing factors that work to destabilize food supply and demand. These factors have caused food insecurity in various parts of the world. Moreover, even established food baskets are experiencing problems with regards to these factors. Demand and supply refers to the study of relation between sellers and buyers of a given product. Over the years, supply and demand of food has continued to dwindle. This is mainly because of factors which may be classified as climatic, economic, political and social, among others. This paper will describe and evaluate some of the major factors that have influenced supply and demand for food in the recent past. It will also endeavor to explore the main reasons for these factors (Trostle 1).
According to law of demand, when a quantity is demanded, it moves in reverse direction of price. This is usually seen in demand curve as a downward slope. Similarly, supply of a quantity is also affected by the quantity supplied. For instance, food supply and demand has greatly been affected in the recent past. This is mainly because of current trends, which have come into play due to the overlaying changes in climate, economy, and politics, among others. These factors cover different groups of food products. Moreover, they encompass various processing and origin of foods. In addition, it deals with convenience foods such as genetically modified foods, organic and exotic as well as regional foods. According to recent trends, demand for convenience foods is expected to increase significantly. This is manly because of the level of advertising done on this group of food products. Moreover, most processing industries are reducing fat content level, which attracts more consumers who are otherwise concerned about its health attributes. As explained above, several factors affect food supply and demand. These include among others, economic, social, cultural, technical, legal, scientific and political factors. Moreover, food chain is also an integral part of food supply and demand as it focuses on economic changes that affect food trade and manufacturing industries (UNEP/GRID-Arendal 1).
Economic factors influence food demand since buyers tend to concentrate more on the products they can afford. Moreover, it affects food supply since it covers the cost of production, processing (for convenience foods) and marketing. These factors include price volatility, which may come as a result of economic upheaval. Other factors include inflation, which may also result in increased cost of production and hence destabilize the supply demand curve. For instance, increased cost of production leads to increase in price of respective products. This also increases demand, which may overcome supply and hence have a destabilized demand supply curve. Climatic and environmental factors are also important as they influence food supply and demand. It is expected that coming decade will experience change in climate. This has the propensity of affecting global agriculture, which contributes to food supply. Moreover, this is expected to present a great challenge to food supply. This change is mainly due to global warming, which is induced by radioactive greenhouse gasses. This has impacted patterns of trade as well as food security throughout the world. Moreover, other climatic effects such as unpredictable weather, floods, drought, among others, have had far reaching implications on agriculture, if this continues then more repercussions are set to follow (U. S. Environmental Protection Agency 1).
Others include political factors which affect food supply. For instance, instability in Libya and the Middle East caused rise in oil prices, which in turn had direct effect on food supply as it triggered increase in price. Moreover, violence instigated by political instability destabilizes food supply and demand. Scientific factors have also influenced demand and supply of food. For instance, advancement in technology has brought about improved nutritional additives that increased demand for convenience food. This has also increased supply as food manufacturing industries advertise their products. Other include cultural and social factors, which have increased demand for specific food products such as vegetables and cereals as opposed to meat which is believed by healthy communities to increase cholesterols (Trostle 1).
Most of these factors have been brought about by changes in climate. For instance, reduced food supply has come up due to global warming as it leads to unpredictable weather, flooding and drought, among other calamities. Another factor that has increased these factors is political instability in food production areas. These include areas like Pakistan, which experience periodical political instability. This has the capability of causing food shortage (rice shortage for Pakistan), which in turn causes price volatility. Other causes include increasing oil prices which has direct effect on food supply as it affects its transportation and processing. It is also important to note that some factors are caused by scientific and technological advancements. These include advertisements, processing, manufacturing, and genetically modified foods, among others. In essence, several factors have affected food supply and demand in recent past. However, the main ones are climatic and economic factors which resulted from economic recession and global warming. These have destabilized supply and demand for food in the United States and the world at large (Meyer and Sauter 1).
Meyer, Rolf, and Sauter, Arnold. “Trends in food supply and demand and their consequences – basic analyses”. tab-beim-bundestag.de. TAB, 2011. Web.
Trostle, Ronald. “Global Agricultural Supply and Demand: Factors Contributing to the Recent Increase in Food Commodity Prices”. ers.usda.gov. Ers, 2008. Web.
U. S. Environmental Protection Agency. “Agriculture and Food Supply: Climate Change – Health and Environmental Effects”. epa.gov. Environmental Protection Agency, 2011. Web.
UNEP/GRID-Arendal. “From Supply To Food Security (Contd.): The Environmental Food Crisis”. UNEP/GRID-Arendal. Unep/Grida, 2011. Web.