The difference in food affordability and the factors leading to food disparities across the globe may come as a shock to most.

The World Food Programme’s (WFP) Counting the Beans index reveals the truth behind the cost of an average plate of food across the globe.

For instance, a $1.20 meal in New York costs $82.10 in the Central African Republic, where a civil war has occupied the country since 2012.

A $5.50 plate in Indonesia costs $72.65 in Haiti.

In South Sudan, an astounding 155% of the average daily income is needed to buy a plate of food, according to WFP.

WFP calculated the cost of a plate of food in a poorer region of the world and adjusted it to the community’s average income.

“Think of it as a reverse Big Mac index, if you will: rather than focus on the product’s nominal price, we focus on the price as perceived by those meant to purchase to product,” WFP reported.

Assuming someone in New York City would have to pay as much in proportion to their income, the results are startling.

WFP explained reasons for such disparities result from many issues, human-induced and not. Many countries facing low income and hunger are also facing violence and corruption.

For all of us, food comes at some cost. Providing food for families isn’t a choice, so finding affordable food in countries facing conflict and low income is essential.

“But while in the developed world the cost of staying fed is negligible to moderate, in the poorest countries it is often exorbitant,” WFP reported.

WFP’s Counting the Beans index is magnifying these disparities in an effort to find a solution for the causes behind them. The organization is on the front lines of the fight against hunger, helping to feed some 80 million people a year by providing assistance like debit cards, school meals for children in need, and food supplies.

The Sustainable Development Goals set a goal to end world hunger by 2030. To realize that promise, the international community must step up efforts to address the root causes of hunger, innovate new solutions, and reach the most vulnerable.

To read more about the Counting the Beans index, click here.

[Photo: World Food Programme]