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Data: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations; Chart: Axios Visuals

Global food prices have continued to rise throughout the pandemic, and they're now at close to the highest level they've been in decades.

Why it matters: Beyond the hunger and suffering that comes with costlier food, high prices are driving serious political discontent around the world — and there's little relief in sight.

  • 768 million people — nearly 1 in 10 globally — were undernourished in 2020, up 118 million from 2019.

By the numbers: According to data from the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), global food prices in August were up 33% from the year before.

  • Adjusted for inflation, food is now almost as expensive as it has been since the FAO's Food Price Index began in 1961.
  • "Food is more expensive today than it has been for the vast majority of modern recorded history,” Alistair Smith, senior teaching fellow in global sustainable development at Warwick University in the U.K., told Bloomberg.

Context: While no country is exempt from the effects of high food prices — including in the U.S., where prices of meat, poultry, fish and eggs were up 5.9% in August compared to the last year — poor nations bear the brunt.

Between the lines: While the pandemic is far from the only cause of spiking food prices — rising shipping and fuel costs play a role, as well as extreme weather — it demonstrates the way the economic effects of COVID-19 have fallen disproportionately on those least able to bear them.

Go deeper

Housing slowdown threatens China's economic muscle

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

China Evergrande and a growing group of Chinese housing developers are inching toward defaulting on their debt.

Why it matters: While that's unlikely to cause a crisis of Lehman proportions, as Axios’ Felix Salmon has reported, just how much China's real estate sector cools could impact the nation's role as a growth driver for companies around the world.

Trump, your 2024 GOP nominee

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Former President Trump is telling most anyone who'll listen he will run again in 2024 — and poll after poll shows the vast majority of Republicans would gladly cheer him on and vote for him. 

Why it matters: Trump is the heart, soul and undisputed leader of the Republican Party and will easily win the nomination if he wants it, the polls make unmistakably clear.

Ina Fried, author of Login
55 mins ago - Technology
Column / Signal Boost

How smartphone cameras became the best cameras

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

For years, the smartphone has been the most convenient camera, and in recent years it has also become the easiest and most versatile camera. But this year's high-end smartphones have taken things to a new level — capturing images that would be either tough or impossible even with a high-end digital camera.

Between the lines: Traditional cameras have the advantage of bigger sensors and better lenses, but smartphone cameras are rivaling and even surpassing them by tapping computational power.