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Shockwatch - Food prices

The spike in prices of cereals in 2007-8 shocked and surprised. For poor and vulnerable people, it meant hardship, as the costs of cereals in many parts of the developing world rose sharply. For national and international leaders, it was an unwelcome surprise given that for more than three decades previously, real food prices had fallen on world markets, as well as on many national markets.

These events have prompted much study and discussion over what has happened, what may happen, and what should be done about them. Two major questions arise:

  • what will happen with food prices in the medium term, and
  • what policies may help reduce and stabilise food prices?

This project will produce regular ‘food price updates’ to track the movements of food prices, particularly grain, highlighting the key directions of change and analysing what they might tell us about possible movements in prices and supply over the coming months.

These bulletins will be complemented by additional in-depth studies focusing on specific themes of key importance to policy-making in this area, including grain policy in China, the potential for diverting grain stocks from animal to human use at a time of food price spikes, and the effects of the rapid expansion in biofuel production.


Steve Wiggins, Sharada Keats, Giles Henley, Helen Hynes

Supported by

  1. Food price update December 2012

    Research reports

  2. Food price update February 2013

    Research reports

  3. Looking back, peering forward: what has been learned from the food-price spike of 2007–2008?

    Briefing/policy papers

  4. Diverting grain from animal feed and biofuels: can it protect the poor from high food prices?

    Research reports

  5. Food Prices June 2013 update

    Research reports

  6. Shockwatch: food prices annual review

    Research reports

  7. Food prices update August 2013

    Research reports

  8. The possible shape of a land transparency initiative

    Research reports

  9. Food Prices October 2013 update

    Research reports

  10. Food Prices January 2014 update

    Research reports

  11. Food prices update March 2014

    Research reports

  12. Shockwatch: food prices annual review

    Research reports

  13. Food prices update June 2014

    Research reports