1. Food prices, Poverty, and Household Diets
IFPRI Seminar series on National Policies and Strategies
DIETS DURING A CRISIS
Academy of Scientific Research and Technology
Institute of National Planning
Cairo, 22 May 2023
2. There can be a simple and direct response to
the question of,
“How do diets respond to food crises?”
as well as a pondered response to the same
question of how diets respond to food crises.
3. The pondered response draws on the
statement made by the Minister of Social
Solidarity describing nutrition as a
“….Nutrition is primarily a developmental
issue that is closely tied to the health of the
mother and child, to education, agriculture
and food security, and the environment…”
4. Response of household diets to food crisis - I
Some examples of responses
Response through changes in purchasing practices:
• Preference for markets and food outlets offering lower prices.
• Increased dependence on subsidized food items
• Change in food purchasing choices.
• Sacrificing quality for lower cost, e.g., offal as sources of animal protein
• Reduced purchase/consumption of fruits and vegetables
• Reduction in number of family meals
• Reduction in number of cooked meals
• Increasing in pocket money allowance given to children and adolescents
• Active seeking of charitable food distribution sources
• Rare and extreme cases of purchase of recycled food.
5. Response of household diets to food crisis - II
Response through changes in cooking methods and food preparation:
• Omission of expensive animal protein food sources in a recipe
• Increased dependence on plant sources of protein
• Increased dependence on potatoes as a vegetable
• Replacing expensive cooking fat with less costly oils
• Reducing ingredients in a given recipe -> reduced dietary diversity
• Reducing cooking time and cooked dishes to save on energy
• Increase in consumption of sandwich-type meals
• Replacement of home cooked meals by purchased food/snacks
• Progressive omission of mixed salads and green leafy vegetables in family
6. Changes in child feeding practices
• Increasing the pocket money allowance to children to fend for themselves during the day
• Reduced attention to preparation of a breakfast meal
• Dependence on the school meal/snack as a contribution to the daily food intake
• Satisfaction of hunger by junk food, snacks, and sweetened drinks
• Overall reduced nutritional value of daily food intake
• Significantly reduced of intake of fresh vegetables and fruits (the health foods).
7. The National Nutrition Sciences Committee contribution to
the food crisis (rural and urban populations)
The Committee’s work programme includes:
• Work with various stakeholders to increase the returns on nutrition of
their interventions and /or programmes to improve diets at a time of crisis.
• Study the Food Environment of households of different social strata to develop solutions
to improve the nutritional value and cost effectiveness of diets.
• Work with national projects and initiatives to ensure the presence of measures to
support home production and consumption of healthy foods in the project design, in
particular, the mega projects of Haya Kareema and New Rural Egypt (including revision of
layout design of rural homes).
• Assess and promote the replication of civil society initiatives (rural and urban) for
increasing home production and consumption of fruit and vegetable
• Promote and support research to address health and nutrition impact of global crises
• Work with concerned entities for update of tools for nutrition research (FBDG, Food
analysis tables, etc.)
• Improve the nutrition literacy of the population.
• Support the adoption/application of the UN Scaling Up of Nutrition movement in Egypt.
8. Connecting the Dots - I
With its national sustainable development plan (Egypt Vision 2030) and a
plethora of different programs and initiatives that contribute towards
advancing progress towards achieving nutrition goals, it remains to:
• Connect the dots, ensure coherence of development policies and
strategies and absence of conflict of interest therein.
• Increase the returns on nutrition from the Government support of
research to inform policy and for the evaluation of development
programmes and initiatives.
• Identify and bridge weaknesses and deficiencies and ensure cost
effectivess of nutrition related activities and programs.
• Accelerate bridging the gap in nutrition policy and strategy for Egypt.
9. Connecting the Dots - II
It is recommended that Egypt builds on its recently produced
Early Childhood policy and strategy document and Action Plan,
giving due consideration to the developmental aspect of the
food crisis and adopt plans that contribute to raising the
quality to of Egypt’s human capital, often stressed as a high
political priority for Egypt.
Egypt has much to gain by joining the SUN Movement and
adoption of its governance model. A model that, inter alia,
harmonizes policies, mobilizes and coordinates the inputs of
multi-stakeholders and the different support communities
including civil society and the private sector.
10. Egypt’s Action Plan for Early Childhood Development
and the quality of Egypt’s Human Capital
It is recommended that Egypt builds on its
recently produced Early Childhood policy and
strategy document and Action Plan, and gives due
consideration to the lifespan approach in plans
that contribute to raising the quality of Egypt’s
human capital, often stressed as a high political
priority for Egypt.
11. Policy and Research Implications
Important research and policy issues include and are not limited to:
• Finalization and dissemination of the national nutrition policy and strategy.
• Work towards the implementation of the decision for establishment of a high-level
multi-stakeholder coordination body for nutrition.
• Assessment of all current school feeding programs implemented across the country
and undertake a feasibility study for progressive decentralization of the Government
school feeding programme using local food resources.
• Update of all nutrition research tools and reference tables.
• Support the regular generation of validated nationally representative nutrition data.
• Develop tools to monitor (more closely than the HIECS survey) the changing trends
in food consumption for all age groups to regularly inform policy.
• Work with the food industry and catering services to reduce salt, sugar, and fat in
processed and pre-prepared foods.
• Accelerate coverage by basic infrastructure services in rural areas, including supply
lines with natural gas.