Precarious Lives: Work, food and care after the global food crisis

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When food prices spiked in 2008, the international price of basic food items peaked at unprecedented levels, bringing a wave of food riots in low-income countries. Subsequent price volatility had huge impacts on millions of people who struggled to feed their families nutritiously. Life in a Time of Food Price Volatility was a real-time investigation by IDS and Oxfam of the experiences of people on low and uncertain incomes as they made dramatic adjustments to their place in the global economy in the wake of the food and financial crises that began in 2007.

This is the final report from four years of research in 10 countries, from yearly visits to 23 urban and rural communities and analysis of national and international food data. It finds that

  • as people worked harder and longer and migrated to find work, more turned to convenience fast food, particularly unhealthy processed items - a more 'Westernized' diet
  • people in all communities had concerns about food safety and quality. Many called for regulation to protect children from the marketing strategies that encourage poor eating habits from the earliest years
  • the impact was particularly great for women, who are working harder - especially in informal employment - while maintaining the household and caring for children. Their time and energy are being squeezed as never before.