Secondary 4 Pure Geography Human Geography (2235/2) Sec 4 Chapter 12 Food ConsumptionEnquiry questions:1) How has food consumption changed around the world?2) Why has it changed over the years?3) What impacts do changes in food consumption bring?Content: Variations in food consumption between DCs and LDCs: o Different levels of food consumption between DCs and LDCs o Changing food preferences (eg. rice, meat, fruits) in DCs and LDCs o Production of non-staple food (eg. coffee and olives) replacing production of staple food in the LDCs Reasons for the variations in food consumption between DCs and LDCs (adequacy of food availability, stability of food supply and access to food) and the resulting impactLearning objectives: Be able to describe variations in food consumption within and between DCs and LDCs; Be able to explain why variations exist & persist in food consumption between DCs & LDCs; Be able to discuss the impact of variations in food consumption between DCs and LDCs; Be able to discuss the responses to changing food consumption.Key terms: Food consumption per capita: average amount of food consumed per person per day in a place and measured in kilocalories per capita per day. Daily calorie intake: the amount of energy, calculated in terms of calories, a person obtains from the food he or she consumes every day. The daily calorie intake as recommended by UN is 2200 calories.
Secondary 4 Pure Geography Human Geography (2235/2) Sec 4 Chapter 12 How has food consumption changed around the world?Section I: Introduction Generally, people in DCs with higher income consume more food than people in DCs. For example, USA‟s food consumption per capita is 3732 kcal/person/day as compared to Afghanistan‟s food consumption per capita which is 1523 kcal/person/day. There is enough food for the whole world (2650 kcal/person/day) but there is uneven distribution of food hence some get more and some get less.Section II: Trends in food consumption1) More meat in DCs DCs consume more meat than LDCs because meat is very expensive. In DCs, people generally work in secondary and tertiary industries which is more value- added. This means they earn more money and have higher purchasing power. As such, meat tends to become a more important source of calories in the DC‟s diet. There is “dietary upgrading” as people are rich enough to afford more meat consumption. In LDCs, they generally work in primary industries which low value-added. This means they earn less money and have low purchasing power. This means that cannot afford the expensive meat and have to eat cheaper alternatives.2) More staple food1 in LDCs LDCs consume a lot of staple food because staple food is a lot cheaper. In LDCs, they generally work in primary industries which low value-added. This means they earn less money and have low purchasing power. As such, their basic diet is based on carbohydrates like rice, wheat and maize but lacks protein, vitamins and minerals. This is because LDCs tend to grow such staple crops in their country hence they are able to buy it at a cheaper rate. However, DCs eat lesser staple food as compared to LDCs due to their high incomes. This is because they earn larger incomes and can afford to consume more expensive and more variety of food than staple food.1 Examples of staple food include wheat, rice, potatoes and barley.
Section III: Variations in food consumptionDeveloped countries (DCs)1) Increase in consumption of healthy fooda) Reduced consumption of fats People in DCs now want to eat less fats due to the rise of food-related illnesses. In the past, the huge consumption of meat and fatty products entails to the consumption of large amounts of fats and also a large consumption of sugar and salt in the food they eat. For example, o in a 2003 World Health Organisation (WHO) report, the general proportion of fats in people‟s diets in some countries in North America and Western Europe is higher than the maximum recommendation of 35%. This has led to a rise in the number of illnesses such as high blood pressure and diabetes, which is linked to high consumption of fats. Given the sedentary lifestyles of people in DCs, they are even more worried about consuming high fat products. As such, people are becoming more health conscious and are moving away from high fat products to avoid getting those illnesses.b) Increased consumption of foods with health benefits With all the food-consumption-related illnesses, people have started consuming more foods with health benefits. Organic food2 is one of the more famous type of healthy food that is seeing a rise over the years. Also, healthier options are coming out over the years. For example, o in USA, the consumption per capita and imports of olive oil have more than doubled from 1995 to 2005 because recent studies show that it can reduce the risk of heart attacks. o in UK, the sales of organic food has tripled over the last five years. Looking at the increase in sales of healthier food over the years, this means more people in DCs have been consuming more food that have certain health benefits to avoid getting the illnesses.2 Organic food refers to food grown without the use of chemical fertilisers or pesticides that may affect aperson‟s health in the long run.
2) Increased consumption of a larger variety of food People in DCs now want types of food from different places around the world. They are more exposed to different types of food around the world because shops selling food from different cultures and different countries are opening in DCs. As such, DCs have the desire to try different varieties of food from all over the world. Recently, new dishes known as fusion food were created as a result of the influx of different kinds of food from different places. For example, o in 1970, due to the dislike of raw fish, sushi chefs in Los Angeles developed the California roll, which contains cucumber, avocado and cooked crabstick and is extremely popular in the USA in 1980s. Now it is enjoyed worldwide. With the mix of people of different cultures within a country itself, shops have to create new varieties of food to cater to both the locals and the people from the different cultures, resulting in fusion food.Less developed countries (LDCs)1) Changes in consumption of carbohydrates There has been changes in the consumption of carbohydrates among LDCs. Firstly, the share of carbohydrates in people’s diets in LDCs has fallen over time. For example, o the proportion of carbohydrates in people‟s diets has fallen from about 76% in 1971- 1973 to about 68% in 1999-2001. Secondly, there is also a shift away from roots and tubers to processed food. For example, o in a 1995 FAO report, the consumption of cassava, sweet potatoes and yams in the Pacific Islands fell by 8% while the cereal consumption increased by 40%. This is because the people in LDCs are becoming more affluent, and have greater purchasing power to include more proteins to vary their diets.2) Increase in consumption of non-staple food Over the years, there has been more consumption of non-staple food. The percentage of calories from proteins and fats is increasing especially for urban areas in LDCs where the people are more affluent. For example, o in China, the percentage of urban adults consuming high-fats diets increased from 33% in 1991 to 61% in 1997. This means that more people in LDCs are preferring non-staple foods over the traditional staple foods they have been eating in the past. This is quickened by the proliferation of fast food restaurants changing people’s food preferences.
Secondary 4 Pure Geography Human Geography (2235/2) Sec 4 Chapter 12 How different is consumption between DCs and LDCs?Section I: Introduction Around the world, there are differences between the intake of different types of food due to the differences in income and preferences. Meat, cereal, marine food and vegetables are eaten differently and there are some limits as to what they can eat.Section II: Variations in food consumption in DCs and LDCs1) Cereal intake DCs consume mostly potatoes, bread, pasta and wheat-based staples. Potatoes and corn originated in Latin America and went to Europe. Large percentages of European and North American diets used to consist of wheat-based products till now. LDCs consume mostly tubers and roots and few cereals. Common tubers and roots include sweet potatoes, cassava, tapioca, yam and taro. Common cereals include rice, wheat and sago. Climatic differences affect the area‟s choice of staples. (ie. north choose wheat and south choose rice for India and China because of growth of them is there) LDCs tend to consume the staples they grow themselves.2) Meat intake DCs consume a lot of meat usually, but now has chosen leaner meats. They used to eat a lot of meat including beef, pork, chicken, turkey, mutton, duck and other domesticated animals. Now, they have chosen the leaner meats (ie. chicken) due to health concerns. LDCs consume less meat but some of the proteins consumed are unique. They tend to eat chicken, pork, duck and rabbits due to their lower prices. They also consume insects and reptiles because some of them are too poor to afford standard meats. Religious and cultural taboos also restrict the types of meats some of them eat. For example, o Buddhist and Hindus do not consume beef while Muslims do not consume pork.
3) Marine food intake DCs tend to consume expensive seafood as delicacies. Common seafood consumed by DCs include fish (eg. salmon and tuna), crabs, clams, prawns, squids, oyster. Their high incomes allow them to purchase the most expensive and freshest seafood from any part of the world. LDCs tend to consume more seafood caught in the region. Common seafood consumed by LDCs include fish, prawns, crabs, clams, shell-fish, squids, eels. The seafood they eat are usually caught by fishermen living in the country or bought from neighbouring countries. The way seafood is eaten in LDCs are also unique (eg. salted fish, belacan, cinchalok)4) Fruit and vegetable intake DCs tend to consume temperate seasonal vegetables and fruits and canned ones. Since DCs are located in the tropics, they tend to consume more broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, tomatoes, cauliflower and zucchini as vegetables as well as oranges, apples, apricots, strawberries and pears. However, during winter, when such vegetables and fruits do not grow, they rely on canned vegetables and fruits to provide the vitamins and minerals they need. LDCs tend to consume more local fruits and vegetables that are seasonal. Local fruit and vegetables include bananas, jackfruit, durians, mangoes, mangosteens, lychees, pomelos, chye sim, spinach and kangkong. They tend to consume the fruits and vegetables they grow themselves in orchards or plantations.
Secondary 4 Pure Geography Human Geography (2235/2) Sec 4 Chapter 12 Why are there variations in consumption between DCs and LDCs?Section I: Introduction Earlier on, the differences between the trends of food consumption was discussed. There is a need to understand why there is such a variation in food consumption.Section II: Reasons for variation in food consumption1) Affordability The more affordable food is in a place, the greater the ability to get food you desire. Generally in DCs, people are able to afford the food due to their higher incomes hence higher purchasing power. They also have a larger food footprint3 as they import foods from very far away to enjoy the quality and variety of food they want. However, there are still people who are poor in DCs and have low purchasing power. This means that there may be some that still cannot afford the food in DCs. For example, o one-sixth of the population in USA and Japan are living on less than US$2/capita/day. Generally in LDCs, people are not able to afford the food due to their low incomes hence low purchasing power. This means that they have extreme difficulty buying food to meet the calorie count much less for their nutritional needs. For example, o 1 in 3 children from Asia, America and Africa are malnourished. Also, they have a smaller food footprint as they can only rely on cheaper local produce. They cannot afford imported food products and they have to eat what they produce. In urban areas seeing fast development in LDCs, people are earning more by day and their purchasing power is increasing hence they can buy more non-staple food. Also, food prices are increasing due to biofuel alternatives. Farmers prefer to grow cash crops instead of food crops which earns less, reducing the supply and increasing the price. For example, o corn prices has gone up 3 times in Mexico due to the switch to sell as biofuel crops. As such, the purchasing power which is affected by income affects how much food a person can get. A person who has a higher purchasing power, regardless of location, can buy more food to meet his nutritional needs.3 Food footprint refers to the amount of carbon dioxide emitted in transporting the food from the foodsource to the country that imports it.
2) Stability4Natural factorsa) Natural disasters and diseases Natural disasters and disease cause severe food shortages by destroying harvests. The spread of diseases to the various food types causes the need to destroy whole batches of that type food in order to prevent spread, reducing the supply of food that is can be sold. Common incidences include mercury contamination in seafood, bird flu in poultry, mad cow disease in cows, swine flu in pigs and pesticidal and radiation in vegetables. Natural disasters like earthquakes and floods also cause damage to crops. For example, o in the 2005 Hurricane Katrina in USA, farmlands and livestock in the south- western coast were destroyed and this left people starving for days before rescue. This depletes any food resources being grown leaving many people starving until aid arrives. It also causes food prices to skyrocket making it more difficult for the poor.b) Environmental conditions Overuse of resources cause degradation and inability to grow crops, reducing supply. Agriculture is a water-intensive process; takes 1 000 tonnes of water to yield 1 ton of grain. With so much water devoted to irrigation of crops, there is bound to be a point of overuse. This is especially so in LDCs where poor irrigation facilities cause them to be short of water for agriculture causing it to halt suddenly, resulting in lower harvests and a smaller supply. Surface water irrigation efficiency is very low in LDCs and this makes it even harder. This means that the chance for overuse of resources is high in LDCs making them vulnerable to shortages that causes smaller harvests.Human factorsa) Wars and conflicts During wars, farmers flee their farms or their crops are destroyed by opponents. Crops and livestock may be destroyed by opponents as a strategy to reduce food supplies. Also, farmers will leave their farms in fear of being attacked by the opponents, leaving their crops unattended while they seek refuge. This means that there will be less food produced to supply to the soldiers and the people. For example, o in 2004, 1.2 million people were forced out of their homes and not allowed to tend to their fields and herds, resulting in massive food shortages in Sudan.4 Stability is achieved when a country enjoys food security (a situation where there is sufficient food ofacceptable quality and variety at all times for consumption).
3) Accessibilitya) Availability of transport facilities A place with good transport facilities allows its people to access food easily. The efficient transportation networks in DCs facilitate movement of food from place to place as well as conquer physical barriers (eg. mountains), thus enabling access to food. DCs can afford to have refrigeration for food to travel long distances without spoiling and also a freight system of food to transport food further to the people in DCs. Conversely, the absence of such facilities in LDCs especially in rural areas hinders movement and distribution of food, making it very hard for people in LDCs to access food.b) Availability of food outlets When shops selling food is easily accessible, it allows people to access food easily. In DCs, numerous hypermarkets (eg. Carrefour), supermarkets and food chains offer a large variety of locally produced and imported food without travelling far from their house. In LDCs, especially rural areas, shops usually sell locally produced food, limiting the availability of food variety and yet people travel kilometres to the nearest shop. It means that people can access food easily with shops located accessibly in an area.c) Globalisation5 With globalisation, people are more able to access food with foreign brands setting up shops where they feel have high consumer rates. For example, o Japanese food and fast food chains can advertise, market and open Japanese food supermarkets like Isetan and food outlets like MOS Burger in Singapore. However in LDCs, access to foreign food chains like McDonald‟s and KFC is confined to urban areas with better connectivity, resulting in harder access to LDCs.d) Trade6 Economic sanctions prevents countries from being involved in trade with the sanctioned country, reducing the sanctioned country‟s ability to import food for its people. For example, o after the 1991 Gulf War, the UN imposed economic sanctions on Iraq resulting in significant decrease in imports of food and farming inputs, reducing food supply. This means that the people would suffer from food shortages due to the disruptions of imports of food that is vital especially to an import-dependent country.5 Globalisation refers to the increased and less controlled flow of goods, services, cultures andinformation across countries throughout the world.6 Trade refers to the exchange of goods and services between countries.
Secondary 4 Pure Geography Human Geography (2235/2) Sec 4 Chapter 12 What is the impact and what is being done about the variations?Section I: Introduction Earlier on, the reasons why food consumption is changing was discussed. There is a need to understand what happens to such variations in food consumption and what is done in response.Section II: Impacts of variation in food consumption1) Starvation7 Starvation generally occurs in LDCs but can also occur in DCs. Due to the lack of food in LDCs, the probability of getting starvation is very high in LDCs. It also occurs in the poorer regions of DCs where poor people (eg. unemployed) are not able to receive enough calories because of their low purchasing power. For example, o the FAO estimates that about 25 000 people die of starvation every day. o of this 25 000, 16 000 are children. o one child dies every five seconds due to starvation.2) Malnutrition8 90% of the people around the world who suffer from a lack of food suffer malnutrition. Malnutrition is due to poor harvests or low purchasing power. It affects mostly the rural areas of LDCs but can also occur in urban areas of LDCs and poor areas of DCs. It is also caused by eating disorders triggered by psychological factors. Anorexia nervosa is a condition whereby people starve by not eating. Bulimia is a condition whereby people force themselves to vomit whatever they just ate, rejecting the body of the nutrients it needs. Malnutrition causes people‟s immune system to weaken badly, causing them to fall ill easily. It may also give rise to diseases related to the deficiency of certain vitamins or minerals. For example, o the lack of Vitamin D and calcium causes rickets. o the lack of iron causes anaemia.7 Starvation occurs when people do not receive enough energy from their diet for a long period of time (ie.less than 1000cal/day)8 Malnutrition occurs when a person consumes an imbalanced amount of nutrients over a period of time.
3) Obesity9 This condition tends to affect people in DCs more than LDCs. This is caused by an increase in food supply and an increasing sedentary lifestyle. Obesity is related to many other illnesses (eg. high blood pressure, heart disease). For example, o it is estimated that 400 million people in the world are obese.Section III: Responses to variation in food consumption1) International organisations International organisations play a role in alleviating malnutrition and starvation by providing aid, running programmes or discussing policies that benefit. A World Food Summit was held in 1996 to discuss ways to end world hunger where representatives from different countries aimed to reduce to 400 million hungry in the world. UN, Red Cross and Oxfam International are some organisations that have helped. For example, o United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has implemented „food-for-work‟ projects in Somalia where death rate due to starvation is high. People build farming facilities such as roads and irrigation channels for a rewardof food. As such, their farming infrastructure is developed and can be used to grow their own food next time. o WFP also carried out a school feeding programme in Cambodia to feed about 290,000 children with a nutritious breakfast of rice, fish and vegetables. However, international organisations cannot be giving aid all the time. Food may also not be channelled to the deserving population due to corrupt leaders.2) Government responsesa) Food subsidies Food subsidies in the form of money, free food or discounted food allows more people to buy food. Since food is more affordable, more people can buy it and the problem of malnutrition and starvation is reduced. For example, o Malaysia subsidises basic foods like sugar and rice heavily to make it affordable for the general public. However, subsidies are bad as they do not help people leave the poverty cycle. The poor in LDCs become dependent on it. Some say that the money should be better channelled to provide free education or low-income loans as it will be a long-term solution.9 Obesity occurs when a person consumes much more nutrients than the body can consume.
b) Stockpiling10 By storing sufficient supplies of food in warehouses, it can be used during food shortages for a period of time until an alternative arrives. Stockpiling is common in DCs as they have the ability to build large expensive storage areas (eg. silos, warehouses). However, LDCs cannot build it as they themselves are suffering from food shortages and do not have much to store. Furthermore, the cost of refrigeration is very high and is not possible for LDCs to cope with the cost because they have more pressing matters.3) Changes in type of crops As people become more affluent, the demand for non-staple crops increases. Hence, food producers in LDCs produce more non-staple food like olives and coffee. To meet the demand of the more affluent as well as to earn more profits, farmers in LDCs begin growing such crops. For example, o coffee is becoming a highly valued non-staple crop which LDCs like Brazil and Vietnam are starting to grow coffee instead of the normal staple crops to sell to the DCs (eg. Japan, USA and Germany) which see increase in demand. Trade has allowed food producers in LDCs to sell their food products beyond their shores. This comes at the expense of the growing of staple crops which is still largely part of the diet of people in LDCs. With this, it may result in a shortage in staple crops for the consumption in LDCs.10 Stockpiling refers to the practice of storing aside food to ensure food securities during emergencies