Document Type : Original Article
Department of Nutrition, School of Medicine, Zanjan University of Medical Sciences, Zanjan, Iran
Department of Management & Health Economics, School of Public Health, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
Following the re-imposition of US sanctions against Iran in 2018, unprecedented inflation has occurred in Iran’s food market that will undoubtedly affect the food security of the Iranian people. The present study aims to determine the effects of the sanctions on food prices and food security of Iranian households.
Interrupted time series (ITS) analysis was applied to assess the effects of sanctions on the average retail price of food products in Iran. Household food security was estimated by calculating the share of household food expenditure. Costs of following a healthy diet based on the food pyramid were estimated.
The import dependency ratio of Iran’s food market was about 25%. After sanctions due to the limitations in international financial exchanges a significant increase in the prices of all food groups occurred in 2018, the year after the re-imposition of sanctions. The highest inflation rate was observed in vegetable, meat, and fruit groups. The percentage of urban and rural households in Iran that were prone to food insecurity increased from 8.84% and 25.17% to 11.2% and 29.2%, respectively, from 2017 to 2019. The annual average cost of a healthy diet for a sample Iranian family of 3.3, based on the current prices, is 341 866 008 IRR (US$2849) which is 3.6 times greater than the average amount Iranian families spent on food last year (94 505 000 IRR or US$788).
After the re-imposition of US sanctions against Iran, food insecurity as a result of economic vulnerability, has increased and due to the current status of food prices and incomes, following a healthy diet has become more difficult for most Iranians. This makes the Iranian population more prone to chronic diseases in the near future and if this trend persists, it places the country in danger of food crisis and political instability.