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Food market insights: Pressure mounts on global food system

What is happening?

World food prices rose by 28% in 2021 to their highest level in a decade and hopes for a return to more stable market conditions this year are slim according to the U.N.’s food agency. The Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) food price index, which tracks the most globally traded food commodities, averaged 125.7 points in 2021, the highest since 2011 (131.9 points).

In the U.S., food retail prices have risen due to the pandemic and are forecast to continue to rise. Supermarket prices are expected to rise for staples including pasta, condiments, soups, cookies, produce dairy products and meats. The inflation rate was 7.0% in December 2021 — the highest in 39 years.

Data released in 2021 by the U.S. Department of Labor reveals that the overall Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose by 5.3% on an annual basis in August 2021 and food inflation by 3.7% in the same period. Beef and veal prices increased by 12.2% and pork prices by 9.8% while prices of poultry such as chicken and turkey rose by 7% year on year.

In Canada, meat is the category most impacted by price hikes. According to Statistics Canada, meat prices increased by about 10% over the last 6 months. Grocery prices continued to climb in December, rising 5.7% year over year, the largest annual increase since November 2011.

Prices have also increased for fresh fruit (+5.6%), including apples (+6.7%), oranges (+6.6%) and bananas (+2.5%) on a year-over-year basis. This is being driven by unfavourable weather conditions as well as supply chain disruptions.

Working across global food systems

As food prices rise in response to major industry disruptions, the outlook for market stabilisation remains unclear. To navigate these uncertainties and ensure long-term commercial viability, food and agribusinesses must conduct thorough market intelligence & analysis.

At Farrelly Mitchell, we empower the world’s most ambitious companies and agencies to make the right decisions. Our work across the global food system gives us a unique bird’s-eye perspective of major market trends, opportunities, and potential disruptions, and we leverage these insights to guide our clients toward strategic excellence. If you are looking for external support in risk analysis, value creation, due diligence, and strategy execution, get in touch with our consultants today.

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Food market insights: Pressure mounts on global food system


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