26 Feb ’14
It is incredible to think that your food could travel more than 3,000 miles to get to your home, and still be fresh. The amount of energy used to move food from one part of the world to another is becoming an issue in the 21st century. There have been movements, like in America where buying local is being encourage.
Currently the world is dependent on petroleum for transportation. With how interlinked the world is today with other countries in gathering oil, a small conflict in the middle east, or an oil refinery fire can make world oil prices rise to a substantial amount. A report from December 30, 2013 reported that world oil prices went up 10%, which is enough to make food prices for the consumer go up by .0907%, considering how much an average person can spend a week on food, say about $7 a meal, three meals a day, that would be about $150 a week. With a .0907% increase, that means an extra $13 a week in food, or $676 extra spent on food each year, just from a 10% increase in oil prices!
With rising costs in transportation, smaller countries will begin finding it much harder to export their product. Costa Rica for example makes about 791 million dollars exporting pineapples. However, they have an issue in bringing product from the trees to ports, increasing shipping costs, up to eight times, and more time to make sure the fruit is clean. This is just a case example, as numerous other countries in Central America face the same issue. Buying exotic fruit in say Europe is going to end up costing much more than it should, but local fruits would be much cheaper transportation wise, however mass production could still bring prices of foreign fruit cheaper to that of local fruit.
Local food thankfully is becoming cheaper due to genetic modification of food. There are ethical issues however in genetically modifying food, however with rising prices in energy, it will become more necessary to make high yields at home. Also, another factor in increasing food prices is fertilizer, which is made with petro products. Genetically modified food would be able to sustain harsher environments, also limiting the use of chemicals used.
ith supply and demand, global food is still cheaper in many areas, however with better technology, local food will eventually become more popular. Alternative energy is currently making gains in changing transportation, thus moving food will become both greener, and cheaper with a more reliable energy source.