The rising price of food will impact on low-income households.

Transparency of food prices

University of Exeter

Rsearcher: Steve McCorriston

Funder: European Commission

Professor Steve McCorriston at the University of Exeter is leading a European Consortium involving 13 institutions throughout the European Union on the determinants of food prices across EU countries.

The key aims of the project are to produce innovative research into understanding the determinants of food prices, and to engage directly with stakeholder groups at European and national levels, and directly inform policy makers regarding the significance and implications of the research.

Food prices are an extremely sensitive issue, with the rising price of food impacting particularly on the poor and low-income groups. Across many countries food price inflation has been leading general inflation and as a result the issue is also of importance for macroeconomic policy. With the recent commodity price rises of early 2011 coupled with forecasts of high commodity prices over the foreseeable future, understanding how food prices are determined is an important aspect of research and one that can have a significant impact on the policy agenda.

The motivation for the European Commission funding this research arose from the commodity price spike in 2007-2008 and the impact this had on EU countries.

While domestic food prices behave differently from world commodity prices, what was particularly interesting was how disparate the experience of food price inflation was across the EU. Many factors can cause food price inflation to differ but one potential focus for the EU is the role of competition and regulation in the food sector.

The Consortium involves universities and research institutes from the UK, France, Belgium, Spain, Germany, Austria, Italy, Hungary, Slovak Republic and Slovenia.

More information on the project please visit the Transparency of Food Pricing (TRANSFOP) site.