Opinion: Hawaii to face volatile food prices

Toni Koraza

Image by Dan Keck

The food supply issues have systematically crept up in many states, including Hawaii.

And these problems have grown more severe lately. Hawaii may soon face food shortages and dramatic price changes for everyday food items.

In the June press release, the United Nations reported that more than 190,000,000 people faced food insecurity this year. And Hawaiians could soon find themselves among this large group. The recent supply-chain disruptions and a raging conflict in Europe have shaken the entire global food industry, creating a ripple effect the United States, including the state of Hawaii.

The USDA Economic Research Service states that in 2020, about 35.3% of houses living under the poverty line in the United States were food insecure.

Food Shortages in Hawaii

In the same year, the organization reported that 14.8% of American households housing children faced some food insecurity throughout the year. These food issues are primarily caused by shifts in prices, demand, and food availability throughout the pandemic.

Feeding America has uncovered many problems interfering with Hawaiians' food supply. In 2022, the organization reported that Hawaii saw its food insecurity increase by 50% since the beginning of the pandemic. This staggering number continues to grow, and officials are scrambling to prepare an adequate response to combat price changes and shortages in the near future.

Hawaii depends on supply transport from overseas, so supply bottlenecks might affect the island. This possibility needs to be taken into consideration under the current market realities. Port holdups and limited shelf-life of most foods could render entire food containers completely useless for public consumption. This would trickle down to

Food prices have soared in the last five years

The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics has found that food prices have risen from 2.4% in July 2018 to 7.4% in July 2020. Over the last few years, the price has nearly tripled.

At the same time, the price of all food items has risen from 2.9% To 8.3%, proving to be a burden on Hawaii residents soon.

Are you worried about the looming food problems in Hawaii?

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