Prices rose for the third consecutive month in October, rising 3% from September, according to an index published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The gains were driven by a sharp rise in vegetable oil and wheat prices.
The FAO Food Price Index tracks monthly changes in a variety of food products. The index has risen more than 30% over the past year. It is now at its highest level since July 2011, FAO said Thursday.
The price of wheat, which is grown on more land than any other cash crop, rose 5% in October due to reduced harvests from major exporters, including Canada, Russia and the United States. The prices of barley, rice and corn also increased.
Stronger prices for palm, soy, sunflower and rapeseed oils led to a 9.6% increase in the FAO Vegetable Price Index. Palm oil prices soared due to concerns about low production in Malaysia due to a shortage of migrant workers.
FAO cited high global demand for a variety of products such as milk powder, poultry, vegetable oils and barley.
Supermarkets in some of the major economies have struggled to keep their shelves fully stocked at times during the pandemic. In the UK, where the worker shortage has been exacerbated by Brexit, fast food chains have been forced to remove popular menu items due to shortages.
There may be relief in some areas.
Falling demand for pigs in China helped propel the FAO Meat Price Index to its third consecutive monthly decline. Sugar prices fell in October after rising for six months in a row.