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News and analysis on the global poultry
and animal feed industries.
on October 15, 2008

Higher food‚ energy prices are a burden‚ finds global poll

Nearly two-thirds of people in a new 26-nation poll commissioned by the BBC World Service say they are feeling the burden of recent rises in the cost of food and energy. They say that the rising cost of food, and of fuel and electricity costs, has...

The poll suggests that the rise in food prices is leading to changes in people’s behavior, particularly in poorer countries. Many in the developing world say they are cutting back on what they eat because of the higher cost of food, with 63 percent in the Philippines and Panama, 61 percent in Kenya and 58 percent in Nigeria saying they are now eating less.

Coupled with this, nearly half (43 percent) of the 27,319 people surveyed say that the higher cost of food has caused them to change what they eat, and, again, this was most apparent in the developing world with people in Panama (71 percent), Egypt (67 percent), Kenya (64 percent), and the Philippines (63 percent) among the most likely to have changed their diet.

In developed countries like Australia (27 percent), the UK (25 percent), and Germany (10 percent), far fewer say that the rise in food prices has caused them to cut back on what they eat. In general, those in developed countries have also not changed what they eat in response to the higher prices – notably, only 17 percent in Spain, 19 percent in Poland, and 24 percent in Germany say they have changed their diets.

The poll also shows that 70 percent of people across the world are unhappy with what their national government is doing to keep food prices affordable. Very high proportions of dissatisfied citizens are found in Egypt (88 percent dissatisfied), the Philippines (86 percent) and Lebanon (85 percent) as well as in some developed countries such as France (79 percent), Russia (78 percent) and Italy (74 percent).

Respondents were asked how much the rises in the cost of energy, including petrol, had negatively affected them and their family. Overall 60 percent say that increased energy costs are affecting them and their family a great deal, and, again, it is those in developing economies who seem to be feeling the effects most – 95 percent in the Philippines, 93 percent in Egypt, 84 percent in Indonesia, 83 percent in Kenya and Lebanon, and 81 percent in Mexico. Majorities in several developed countries also say they have been affected a great deal – 61 percent in Italy, 59 percent in France and 58 percent in the United States.

The survey was conducted by the Program on International Policy Attitudes and GlobeScan for the BBC World Service.
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