According to a recent consumer survey carried out by GlobalData in the third quarter of this year, food security is deemed 'extremely important' for 43% of people around the world.
This surpasses half the population for the Middle East and Africa (MEA) and South America, while developed regions – namely North America and Europe – report lower concern levels.
Impact On Food Systems
“Countries on and around the equator are subject to some of the harshest extremes in climate change and weather patterns," commented Carmen Bryan, consumer analyst at GlobalData. "This, combined with more fragile infrastructure, has negatively impacted food systems as well as economic growth.
"Given that many of these countries are also key agricultural and manufacturing markets, a break in supply here will impact the global food system and economy, leading to commodity shortages and price hikes – much like what we have seen during COVID-19 the pandemic.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a spotlight on food security and poverty, with global hunger levels reaching around 9.9% of the world's population in 2020, according to UN data.
Another effect of the pandemic has been its influence on taking action, with corporate social responsibility growing in importance. As of September this year, GlobalData said, more than half of global consumers agree that they are somewhat or completely more loyal to brands that support environmental (56%) or social (54%) causes.
Taking Concrete Action
“Brands that actively and transparently demonstrate their efforts to re-evaluate their supply chain and innovate in new ingredients will benefit from sustained consumer interest and repeat buys," Bryan said. "Food and beverage sectors will need to implement practical measures in line with government guidance in order to safeguard both their reputation and long-term viability of supply.
"Diversifying products, either into new alternative food sources or alternating between seasonal foods, can help brands adapt to and withstand changing weather cycles.”
Bryan added that while there is no 'one-size-fits all' solution to climate change or food poverty, food security is something that offers tangible solutions, if the will is there.
"However, it will take collaboration from governments, industry players, and authorities from external bodies to see COP26’s ambitious goals reached, and the global food systems reinforced and protected," she added. [Picture: UNFCC/Kiara Worth]