Food remains a significant utility in people’s lives. Usually, it is the topmost consideration for anyone’s budget; for without food, all other developments will be inoperable. For any sustainable development to occur, every country must ensure food security for its citizens before focusing on other factors of development.
Food industries and the agricultural sector, in general, have employed significant efforts to make sure that there is adequate food quantity for everybody. This effort has seen many revolutions in the food sector as numerous food brands have come up with various techniques to satisfy that need. Despite this impressive reality, a significant section of the world populace is still grappling with food volatility. Although there is plentiful of food in the farms and food stores, many people hitherto find it hard to get it on the table due to a number of factors.
To show how this reality manifests itself in the contemporary society, this essay examines some of the major factors that have influenced the supply and demand for food in the recent years. Furthermore, it highlights the main reasons for these factors as well as describing how demand and supply trends are interrelated.
Demand refers to the extent at which consumers are willing and prepared to buy specific types of food at the prevailing market price. A number of factors have often affected the quantity of food produced which particular buyers have been willing to purchase in the recent years. First, the cost price of the food produce determines how many customers will be attracted to make purchases. Usually, expensive food products attract very few customers because many people may not afford them even if they may be in need of them. In such circumstances, consumers have often been obliged to resort to alternative foods to satisfy their hunger.
On the other hand, continuously varying tastes and preferences of consumers have always affected the demand. There have been times when customers preferred buying manufactured food to raw stuff. This has been occasioned by the versatility and durability of these foodstuffs. During such times, the demand would be high and booming. Numerous people would then buy their preferred brands irrespective of the prices at which they are availed.
Moreover, the number of consumers in a place determines the demand for a specific type of commodity on the market. When many customers are of a certain commodity, the demand for those particular products will also be high, and vice versa. For instance, if people, who culturally prefer fish, dominate a place, then the demand for fish will also be high. It even means that there can be the significant price increase, but it will not deter people from buying the product. On the contrary, if the number of individuals who delight in eating a certain type food is low, then the demand for that food product will also decrease. This trend will be irrespective of a few buyers who may be craving for that food.
In addition to that, the income of consumers also matters in determining the demand for specific food products on the market. Food businesses have become lucrative in the recent past in certain countries, especially in the developed ones, following the rise in the income per capita. It means that many citizens had enough income that would put and sustain them on a certain lifestyle, affording various food products. If people’s income is low, definitely they cannot afford most of the food products, especially the expensive ones. However, the moment they earn a relatively reasonable amount of money, they begin demanding certain brands of food.
In the same breath, prices of competing produce have largely affected the demand for food products. There is a myriad of food products on the market, which can serve similar purposes for consumers. In case the price of a particular produce is exaggerated, buyers will automatically switch to alternative brands to meet the same need. For instance, if the price of beef as compared to its competing meat products is exorbitant, the majority of consumers may resort to mutton, filet, chicken, or pork to quench their desire for meat. In this respect, it means that the demand for beef will be low as compared to other cheaper meat products.
Finally, the range of products that are available to customers on the market determines the degree of demand for certain food products. In case a wide range of products that are supplementary in nature floods the market, the demand will be relatively low. This will be contrary to the food category, which does not have a diversity of products. Customers tend to have high affinity for the product, which they fear has no alternative in comparison with the ones, which have innumerable equals.
Supply refers to the kinds of commodities that producers intend to sell at a certain price at a given time. The factors mentioned earlier have also influenced the quantity of products that manufacturers supplied in the recent past. First, the prices of products on the market matter significantly. Many producers have been obliged to supply certain brands of food products on the market owing to the fact that their prices were relatively high. In return, this would recoup them for their investment. Where prices have been low, manufacturers were forced to hoard products until such a time when prices would be speculated to rise. Such a situation was common, especially in the countries where food production is heavily dependent on the seasons. For instance, during winter and summer seasons, the supply of food products in many parts of North America has always been in surplus. This is the time that many producers have also been witnessing a drop in food prices and vice versa. The situation usually discourages producers to sell their production in fear of going at a loss as compared to the cost of production.
Similarly, the input prices or cost of production of a certain product determines the supply. If the cost at which a certain food product is produced is low, then the supply will be higher. This usually is the opposite of the products that are expensive to produce. Many producers have often indulged in farming practices, which are not very costly as compared to those that demand much input. Some of the cheaply produced food products include fruits such as oranges, tomatoes, apples, and mangoes among others. They have always been availed in large quantities on the market as opposed to wheat and other products whose production cost is exorbitant.
More so, a number of technological factors affect heavily the quantity of supply of a certain product of food. Some products required high mechanization and advanced technology to produce them. Such products will definitely be in smaller quantities on the market as compared to the ones that demand feeble technological input. For example, the quantities of genetically modified organisms are still insignificant on the markets in comparison to naturally propagated food products.
The climate is another factor that highly influences the supply of food products. During harsh climatic conditions, food supply is usually low unlike the time when the weather is favorable. This is because much produce is often destroyed during harsh times. For instance, too much rain interferes heavily with ripening and maturity of food products. It is also not favorable for harvesting, leading to numerous products rotting in the farms. On the other hand, drought causes withering of crops, resulting in retarded growth and premature yields. Such conditions will definitely lower the quantities of supply of specific food products that would have been affected.
Finally, the storage possibilities are also a factor that impacts the supply. Usually, it affects perishable foodstuffs, such as meat, vegetables, and fruits. These products always flood most markets because producers find it difficult to store them for a long period. In fact, the technology of storage is also expensive and food would usually get spoiled if preserved longer than the required time. It is therefore observed that such products would always be availed nearly all the time on the market. Customers also buy them in smaller quantities enough for consumption in one or two days then they come for some more.
Food demand and supply are dependent on each other in a number of ways. They are all determined by prices. When the prices of commodities are high, then the supply of a certain commodity will also rise. This is because producers are often motivated by desirable profits that they hope to make in a particular sale. On the other hand, the demand may decrease as consumers start resorting to competing products that are cheap to minimize expenditure. The theoretical point at which these two variables coincide on the market is referred to as equilibrium. Equilibrium is the state of balance created when markets operate under different degrees of competition. Of late, there has been an impressive equilibrium of supply and demand for food products in most markets. Nonetheless, many countries around the world are still grappling with the issue of food insecurity. Concerted efforts are required in salvaging this situation to ensure everyone gets access to adequate food for general prosperity.