The availability and cost of food

In developed countries the simple availability of food is not a constraint on choice. There is a wide variety of foods available, and when fruits and vegetables are out of season at home they are imported; frozen, canned and dried foods are widespread. By contrast, in developing countries, the availability of food is a major constraint on what people choose. Little food is imported, and what is available will depend on the local soil and climate. In normal times the choice of foods may be very limited, while in times of drought there may be little or no food available at all, and what little is available will be very much more expensive than most people can afford.

Even in developed countries, the cost of food may be important and, for the most disadvantaged members of the community, poverty may impose severe constraints on the choice of foods. In developing countries, cost is the major problem.

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