Recent Data Shows Food Security Has Declined In The US

Millions across the globe are currently threatened by a lack of food and adequate nutrition. According to the AP, the U.N.'s World Food Program Executive Director David Beasley says there are around 50 million people who are close to living in famine conditions. This disparity is spread across 45 different countries as well, and is a sign that food security may be one of the worst issues facing the world today.

The International Food Policy Research Institute defines food security as a state in which all people have access to "sufficient, safe, and nutritious food" which allows them to live an "active and healthy life." Consulting firm McKinsey & Company reports that food security has worsened in recent years due to the increasing effects of climate change, supply chain strains, and the COVID-19 pandemic. Those conditions were worsened when Russia invaded Ukraine earlier this year, affecting the distribution of millions of pounds of vital grain shipments. The conflict also made shipping other goods more difficult, as parts of the Black Sea were disturbed by naval blockades. The firm reports that while things are already difficult across the globe, they are likely to continue worsening under current forecasts.

U.S. is 13th most food secure nation in the world

The United States may be the richest country in the world (via World Population Review), but even it is not immune to these difficulties. The U.S. recently lowered in a ranking of global food security. Economist Impact published its Global Food Security Index for 2022, and the U.S. dropped four spots from the year prior (per Food Safety News). In 2021, the country was ranked as number nine, but now finds itself in the 13th spot. Finland, Ireland, Norway, and France are currently ranked as the most food secure nations in the world.

Food Safety News also reports that the war with Ukraine is adding more strain to an already unstable system of food suppliers, which is causing a drop in food security worldwide. The USDA reports that 10.2% of households in the United States were considered food insecure in 2021. Children and minorities appear to be among the most affected by this insecurity. This heightened difficulty in accessing food is also likely to put further strain on food pantries as well. Many are already facing increased demand while their own supplies run more scarce.

McKinsey & Company notes that 2023 may be worse. Global output of food items may shrink as many countries face further famine and price increases. It's also unknown how severely impacted Ukraine's next grain harvest may be as well. This may further limit global food supplies.