From 2005 to 2015, the cost of food in the United States has shot up 31.5%, according to the Consumer Price Index (CPI). While it’s definitely an alarming increase of price, it’s important to remember that in terms of food costs, the U.S. is very fortunate compared to some other parts of the world. Based on a new report from the United Nations’ World Food Programme and Mastercard, the average meal in the world’s most expensive regions can require a lot more money than the average person makes in a single day.
The new joint study reveals just how expensive food around the world can be. The analysis looks at the relative cost of a serving of beans and rice based on a person’s average daily income in that region. That value is then compared to the price of that same simple meal in New York City, where you can buy beans and rice for about $1.20, or 0.6% of the average daily income. The world’s most costly regions can be seen in the chart below.
Infographic created by Constantine Spyrou/Foodbeast
To buy that meal of beans and rice in South Sudan, the priciest of the surveyed regions, you need to spend an alarmingly high 155% of your average daily income.
World Food Programme executive director David Beasley told CNN that the report is “a stark reminder of how conflict can create cruel inequalities in terms of access to food.”
South Sudan, one of four war-ravaged regions suffering from extreme famine as recognized by the U.N., definitely needs help with food security and food access, as do many other parts of the world. Hopefully, calls to action to help divert unwanted food, like those made in Anthony Bourdain’s new food documentary, Wasted, can help bring relief to these starving areas of the planet. Other potential solutions include innovative food products and technologies that make food more accessible, like aquaponics or golden rice.
The UN’s new report paves the way for a much-needed discussion on the fight against world hunger, one that hopefully will bring relief to these impoverished parts of the planet.