UC Davis Agricultural and Resource Economics

Karolina Pawlak, University of Life Sciences, Poznan
Agata Malak-Rawlikowska, Warsaw University of Life Sciences
Mariusz Hamulczuk, Warsaw University of Life Sciences

Has Food Security in the EU Countries Worsened During the COVID-19 Pandemic? Analysis of Physical and Economic Access to Food

Date and Location

Thursday, September 28, 2023, 4:10 PM - 5:30 PM
ARE Conference Room, 2102 Social Sciences and Humanities


The aim of the paper is to provide an ex-post assessment of the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on food insecurity in the EU-27 countries expressed by the physical and economic food access. We analysed trade and price effects, together with food insecurity and malnutrition indicators. Actual levels of the indicators were compared with their pre-pandemic magnitudes and/or with counterfactual levels derived from predictive models. We also aimed to compare the objective statistics with the subjective consumers' perception of their households' food security. Our research indicates that the EU food trade was more resilient to COVID-19 impacts than the trade in non-food products, while food trade decreases were of temporary nature. This did not affect the trade balance significantly; however, the reduction in imports threatened the physical food access in most EU countries. Regarding economic food access, the results indicate that the increase in food prices was offset by the increase in disposable income. It may suggest that the COVID-19 did not significantly affect the deterioration of economic access to food in the EU countries. However, the prevalence of severe food insecurity in the total population or the proportion of households reporting inability to afford an appropriate nutritious diet increased in 2020-2021 compared to 2019. This means that the comparative analysis of the real data on prices and households’ income, as well as consumer perception of the financial situation and food consumption affordability does not offer a clear answer concerning the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on food security of EU households.

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