Food prices surge worldwide LONDON, June 24 (UPI) -- For the first time in generations food prices around the world are surging, it was reported Saturday. Global soybean prices rose by more than half last year while wheat futures are trading at their highest level in a decade, the Independent reported. Analysts call the trend "agflation," which occurs when increased demand from human consumption competes with crops being used as an energy resource, the newspaper said. For example, the growing affluence of millions of people in China and India is creating more demand for food while the so-called bio-fuels boom is creating demand for the use of food crops as a source of energy to replace fossil fuels, the newspaper said. The problem has revived the work of Robert Malthus, an 18th-century British thinker who predicted the growth of the world's population would outstrip its ability to produce food, leading to mass starvation. Lester Brown from the Earth Policy Institute expressed similar concerns in a briefing to the U.S. Senate last week. "The stage is now set for direct competition for grain between the 800 million people who own automobiles, and the world's two billion poorest people," Brown said. Copyright 2007 by United Press International. All Rights Reserved.