22 Alarming Food Scarcity Statistics & Facts For 2022

Food scarcity and food shortage are one of the biggest problems of the world. Scarcity is the gap between limited resources and theoretically limitless wishes.

Is the world producing enough food? If so, why are so many people still fighting hunger and starvation?

In today’s article, we’re going to focus on the gap between the production of food and its distribution in the world. We’re going to mention countries that are fighting food scarcity, as well as the predictions of the food demands. Keep on reading to find out everything you need to know about this problem.

7 Key Food Scarcity Statistics & Data (Editor’s Pick)

  • More than 2 billion people do not have regular access to food.
  • The world’s farmers produce enough food to feed the world.
  • 44% of agricultural production is never consumed.
  • 29.9 million people in the USA face food scarcity.
  • 24.5% of the world’s land is of very low productivity.
  • 40% of crop losses occur between the fields and store shelves.
  • By 2050, consumption will more than double the food demand.

22 Food Scarcity In The World Statistics

1. More than 950 million people do not have enough to eat.

According to the data provided by Embrace Relief Foundation, up to 957 million people worldwide do not have enough food to eat on a regular basis. That means they do not have access to nutritious food needed for a good health condition. Food insecurity and food scarcity are closely linked together and they often lead to hunger suffering.

Source: Embrace Relief Foundation

2. Over 2 billion people do not have regular access to safe food.

The World Health Organization stated that over 2 billion people do not have regular access to food that is safe, nutritious, and sufficient. Such food is needed on the daily basis in order to nurture the body. However, the lack of it may cause serious health problems, starvation, malnutrition, and death.

Source: World Health Organization

3. The world’s farmers produce enough food to feed the global population.

According to Medium and its provided data, the world’s farmers produce enough food to feed 1.5 x the global population. That would be enough to feed 10 billion people, and currently, we’re at 7.7 billion. However, despite that, hunger still exists as many developing countries do not have access to such food, nor do they have conditions to produce enough food for themselves.

22 Alarming Food Scarcity Statistics & Facts For 2022 - World's Farmers

Source: Medium

4. About 1.3 billion tons of food go to waste.

If we’re going to talk numbers, 7.7 billion people are on the planet and each of them needs around 1.4 kilograms of food on average per day. That means that people require about 3.7 billion metric tons of food per year in order to feed the entire world. According to FAO, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, the world at the moment produces about 4 billion metric tons of food per year. However, 1.3 billion tons go to waste.

Source: Food and Agriculture Organization

5. Almost 50% of agricultural production is never consumed.

Bloomberg Green stated that international research from the University of Edinburgh showed that the number of wasted food is even higher than we mentioned in the previous paragraph. According to the study, 44% of agricultural production is never consumed, while the world has more than 900 million hungry people.

Source: Bloomberg Green

6. The food is not evenly distributed.

The World Trade Organization also put time into researching this global problem. According to their data, it is estimated that if total calories from all the produced food were divided among all the people, there would be 2,750 calories per person per day. The recommended daily minimum per person is 2,100 calories a day. This means that everyone would have enough calories to be fed. However, the food is not evenly distributed across the landscape of the world and millions of people are suffering from hunger and starvation.

Source: World Trade Organization

7. Nearly one in three people in the world didn’t have access to adequate food in 2020.

In 2020, 2.37 billion people didn’t have access to adequate food. According to the data provided by United Nations, that is an increase of almost 320 million people from the previous year 2019. This is a massive increase affected not only by conflict and climate change but also the COVID-19 pandemic which had a huge impact on the economy of all countries in the world.

Source: United Nations

8. Almost 30 million people in the USA face food scarcity.

Even though there is an opinion that only developing countries face food scarcity, the truth is, no country is immune to this problem. We already mentioned that worldwide, over 2 billion people do not have access to safe and nutritious food on a daily basis. That number includes 29.9 million such people in the United States.

Source: Global Giving

9. Rural populations produce 70% of the global food supply.

The Embrace Relief Foundation stated that herders, small farmers, and fishermen produce about 70% of the global food supply. Despite that, they are especially vulnerable and food insecure. While they provide a high percentage of food for the world, they suffer from poverty and hunger. These problems are mostly seen among rural populations.

22 Alarming Food Scarcity Statistics & Facts For 2022 - Global Food Supply

Source: Embrace Relief Foundation

10. Increase in food prices impacts malnutrition in developing countries.

Due to the decreased food availability, there is an increase in global food price inflation. This problem exacerbates malnutrition in developing countries. Increasing food scarcity has impacted global food prices which have been rising for the last of years. This is a huge problem that impacts the already unstable economic situation, especially amongst the rural population. It also increases the rate of poverty and hunger.

Source: Dexia

11. High demand for food increases the hunger rates.

The rising prices are a result of the increase in demand for food by the underinvestment of agriculture and the growing population. However, this demand actually takes away the only food source for those in need. By contributing to food shortages around the world, hunger, starvation, and famine actually grow, especially in developing countries.

Source: Embrace Relief Foundation

12. There is an increase in food consumption.

We already mentioned that the world population is constantly growing. Therefore, the rising incomes of a large proportion of that population also become a problem. As some parts of the population become more affluent, the consumption of food per capita also increases, as well as the uptake in global calorie consumption per capita.

Source: Dexia

13. Almost 25% of the world’s land is of very low productivity.

According to the data provided by Dexia, 75.5% of the world’s available land area is being used for agricultural production. The remaining 24.5% of the land is of very low productivity or comprises areas of high conservation value. The fact that there is a lack of additionally available farmland led to slowing down the growth of food production yields on a global scale.

22 Alarming Food Scarcity Statistics & Facts For 2022 - Agricultural Production

Source: Dexia

14. The cereal growth rate has slowed down to 1.4%.

FAO, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, revealed that in the last 47 years, world cereal yields have grown by 1.9%. But over the past 20 years, the growth rate has slowed to 1.4%. For example, the annual food production growth rate in Europe has fallen to 0.3% in the last years, compared with the 1.9% rate between 1960 and 1999.

Source: Food and Agriculture Organization

15. In Haiti, 2.6 million people need help.

A terrible situation regarding hunger and starvation in Haiti is linked not only with an uncertain political future but also with inflation rates and food scarcity. Extreme weather and climate change also have a negative impact on the progress of the country. There, 2.6 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance.

Source: Concern Worldwide U.S.

16. Africa, Latin America, and Asia are fighting food scarcity.

Speaking of humanitarian assistance and food scarcity, in 2017, Sub-Saharan Africa had the highest prevalence of food insecurity (55%) and severe food insecurity (28%). Latin America and the Caribbean had 32% of their population food insecure and 12% severely food insecure, while in South Asia, there were 30% of the population suffering from food insecurity and 13% from severe food insecurity. These regions of the world have the biggest problems with food scarcity.

Source: USDA

17. Globally, up to 40% of food is wasted.

We already mentioned the problem of food wasting. According to Medium, 30% to 40% of all food is wasted on a global basis. In the less developed countries, the wasted food is caused due by the lack of infrastructure, as well as the knowledge to keep food fresh. In India for instance, up to 40% of the country’s production is lost because the retail and wholesalers lack cold storage. If we look at the more developed countries, the low relative cost of food actually reduces the incentive to waste. Of course, as the meal portion grows, more and more food gets thrown out and – wasted.

Source: Medium

18. Developed countries have high levels of wasted food due to retails and consumers.

As you may have noticed in the previous paragraph, developing countries actually waste as much food as developed ones. The only difference is in the way it’s wasted. Developed countries have more than 40% of food losses due to retails and consumers. Some try to limit these losses by diverting expiring groceries to the poor and those in need, however, due to the safety regulations restaurants often need to discard uneaten food.

Source: Bloomberg Green

19. Almost 50% of the crops are lost before getting into the stores.

According to the data and statistics provided by the United Nations, more than 40% of crop losses occur between the fields and store shelves. And that is a huge problem. If we take India for example again, the biggest losses there occur during the harvest. Fresh products often rot on their way to the market because of the delays in transportation, as well as a lack of refrigeration.

22 Alarming Food Scarcity Statistics & Facts For 2022 - Crop Losses

Source: United Nations

20. By 2050, there will be a high increase in food demand.

The data provided by Science Direct stated that by 2050, the world food demand will be increased by a third. The reason for such a high increase is the income convergence which is embodied in the economic projections. At the moment, the demand for food is at the highest levels, we can only imagine what will the world be like by 2050, especially due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the already unstable economy.

Source: Science Direct

21. In the next 30 years, consumption will more than double the food demand.

Due to the high demand for food, it is estimated that global food consumption will have a high growth too. Between 2009 and 2050, there has been and will be an average growth of 1.72% per year. Due to that, consumption will more than double the food demand by up to 102% by 2050.

Source: Science Direct

22. Embrace Relief Foundation helped more than 1,1 million people.

According to the report by Embrace Relief Foundation, the organization has organized and facilitated countless food distribution campaigns. It distributed over 1.7 million pounds of food to the people in need in over 40 countries. Embrace Relief Foundation reached over 1,1 million people in order to help them fight food scarcity, insecurity, and hunger.

Source: Embrace Relief Foundation

To Wrap It Up

Food scarcity is a big problem, especially in developing countries. However, the world does produce enough food for the entire global population but the food isn’t distributed equally. While some countries have more than enough food, which in the end is thrown out and wasted, other countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America are fighting hunger and starvation. The food demand is increasing and the hunger rates are growing. Serious actions need to be taken in order to stop this huge global problem.

Ana loves sharing unusual recipes, combining herbs and spices, writing about current news, and studies about food trends and restaurants. She lives in Croatia and in her free time, she loves cooking and tasting different wine nuances, as well as traveling and enjoying the local cuisine. Ana’s favorite combination is based on seafood and red wines from the south.