The Global Food Security Index (GFSI) declined for the third year in a row, while the U.S. slipped from 9th place to 13th among the 113 countries assessed.
The GFSI ranks countries based on four pillars:
- Quality and safety
- Sustainability and adaptation
This year, the index experienced large decreases in affordability, as well as quality and safety. “In particular, Affordability, the top-scoring pillar, was dragged down by sharp rises in food costs, declining trade freedom, and decreased funding for food safety nets,” according to the report. The index also shows a widening gap in food security between countries at the top of the list and those at the bottom, “reflecting the inequity in the global food system.”
The U.S. placed 13th, down four spots from last year, with an overall score of 78.0, out of a possible 100. The U.S. scored higher on quality and safety (88.8) and affordability (87.1) than on sustainability and adaptation (69.4) and availability (65.1).
In the quality and safety pillar, the U.S. outperformed the averages for high-income countries on every factor, including getting three perfect scores, for nutritional standards, protein quality, and food safety.
In the affordability pillar, the U.S. got a perfect score for food safety net programs and a near-perfect score (99) for proportion of the population under the global poverty line. The country also outperformed the high-income country average for agricultural trade. However, the U.S. underperformed its peers for change in average food costs and the inequality adjusted income index.
The sustainability and adaptation pillar was a mixed bag. The U.S. got a perfect score for disaster risk management and outperformed its peers on several factors. But, the score was dragged down by the “land” factor – a composite indicator of the health of the land and how land degradation might impact agriculture.
The availability pillar was also mixed. While the U.S. got a 99.2 for sufficiency of supply, it scored a flat 0 for food security and access policy commitments.