Global food crisis triggered cultural shift towards junk food, say researchers

Poor countries urged to act over widespread adoption of fast food diets caused by 2008 price spikes, which made many staples unaffordable

Millions of people who struggled to pay for traditional staple foods like maize, rice and wheat when global food prices dramatically rose between 2007-2011 have switched to western-style processed “junk-food” alternatives that are high in sugars, fats and salt, a four-year study across 10 countries has found.

The sudden rise and volatility in the price of basic foods, which was linked to trading in the global commodity markets and the rundown of food stocks in many countries, triggered a major cultural shift because it forced more people to seek cash incomes and enter the work market, said the authors.

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