Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
    FAO Data Lab

    Food prices methodology

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    Aim and approach

    The Daily Prices pages monitor consumer prices of 14 main food products in all countries on a daily basis and compiles percentage price changes since 14 February 2020.

    Data source

    Price data are harvested from Numbeo that is one of the world’s largest database of user-contributed data about cities and countries worldwide. Numbeo provides current and timely information on living conditions including cost of living, housing, health care, traffic, crime and pollution. FAO Data Lab uses food consumer prices only.

    These are crowd-sourced data, chosen to meet the need for timely and real time information on a global scale as the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the globe. Crowd-sourcing has the advantage of overcoming the constraints of official survey data collection. Numbeo relies on a large online community to contribute to the continuous updates of its large crowd-sourcing platform,

    Crowd-sourced data also have some well-known limitations. There is no guarantee that all the contributors will report every day on every item so there can be inconsistencies in terms of coverage or quality for single day or product. Data Lab approach has been to release real time available information in a period of very high uncertainty. 

     

    Process

    Numbeo’s data is updated by contributors with crowd-sourcing. Numbeo does not review its price data prior to publication. An automatic scrape of data is executed daily to update the Data Lab price dataset. Prices are harvested in local currencies and in US Dollars. Units of measure are standardised to the metric system (1 kg or 1 L) or to the unit.

    Numbeo’s policy on contributed data is available in their Terms of Use.

     

    Country prices page

    Reference prices to compile price changes were set on 14 February 2020. Price changes are calculated using prices in local currency of each country and each product (when local currency was available, otherwise the changes are based on US Dollars). Price changes (%) are calculated in three different ways to capture possible spikes in price movements:

    • Price change (%) over the full period (latest available price compared to 14 February)
    • Price changes (%) in the last 30 days
    • Price changes (%) in the last 7 days

    Missing information is reported with a hyphen “-“.

    Price changes for the 14 products at the country level are obtained with a simple average and are represented on the global choropleth map on the home page.

     

    Products, price changes (%) and detailed data page

    The page contains a set of 14 choropleth maps and links to detailed tables by product. The choropleth maps report the price changes by product in each country. A global price change (%) for that commodity is provided in brackets after the product name. Global price changes are calculated by simple average of the country price changes in the same period. Each table by product reports:

    • the baseline price (of 14 February) and last available price in local currency for each country
    • the baseline price (of 14 February) and last available price in US Dollars for each country
    • the observed price range over the full period, i.e. the minimum and maximum prices (in USD for comparison purposes) for each country
    • the price change (%) over the full period (latest available price compared to 14 February) for each country
       

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