The concept of caloric unequal exchange and its relevance for food system analysis: The Ecuador case study

Jesús Ramos-Martín*, Fander Falconí, Pedro Cango

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The impact of food production patterns and food supply upon consumption patterns is usually explained by economies of scale and affordability. Less attention is given to food trade patterns and global insertion of economies affecting dietary changes. This paper contributes to the discussion using the concept of caloric unequal exchange that defines the deterioration of terms of trade in food in units of calories and complements studies on unequal exchange and ecologically unequal exchange. A new perspective to food systems' analysis is achieved by using this concept. This paper uses the case study of Ecuador to exemplify its potentiality. Exports and imports to and from Ecuador are analyzed for the period 1988 through 2013 in volume, value, and calories, for different groups of products. The conclusion is that Ecuador is increasingly helping to feed the world, at a caloric cost that is decreasing over time. There is a deterioration of the terms of trade of traded food in terms of calories for Ecuador of more than 250% between 1986 and 2013.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2068
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Volume9
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2017

Keywords

  • Caloric unequal exchange
  • Ecuador
  • Food
  • Latin America
  • Terms of trade

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