Arizona to face prolonged food shortages

Toni Koraza
Photo by Andrew Heneen

Can you imagine an entire state fending off food shortages and other supply chain issues?

Especially when that state is Arizona, facing prolonged food insecurity for almost a million of its residents.

What is food insecurity?

Food insecurity refers to people being unable to access affordable and nutritious food. The reasons people experience food insecurity can vary and include causes such as:

  • poverty
  • health conditions
  • discrimination
  • food shortages

The food problems in Arizona

Arizona agriculture is a big business, providing $23.3 billion in revenue for the state. It also employs over 138,000 people. But despite the major food production from the state, Arizona residents still go hungry.

Food insecurity in Arizona affects over 910,000 people. One in eight adult residents faces hunger, which increases to one in six when you look at children only. SNAP is a federal program to help people get fresh food in times of financial uncertainty. In Arizona, over 46% of households using SNAP benefits have children.

The Department of Economic Security founded the Hunger Advisory Council to locate food deserts in Arizona. The DES holds Food Summits to provide affordable, nutritious food to residents in the areas.

Food prices increased in the recent years

Food prices have increased in the past five years. In 2017 and 2018, the increase was just 1.6%, and it only grew to 1.8% in 2019. In 2020, the rate of inflation jumped to 3.9%. It almost doubled to 6.3% in 2021. So far in 2022, food inflation has jumped up 10.1%.

The price increase isn’t only limited to grocery stores—you’ll pay more to eat in a restaurant, too. In March 2022, the US Department of Agriculture projected a further increase of 4.5% to 5.5%. The USDA says that food prices haven’t increased this drastically since 1981.

Are you worried about the food shortages in your state?

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