IELTS Model Essays: Buying Food From All Over the World (IELTS 19)

In this lesson you are going to see 3 different high scoring essays written in response to the following task:

In many countries nowadays, consumers can go to a supermarket and buy food produced all over the world. Do you think this is a positive or negative development?

Cambridge IELTS 19 Academic Test 4

Each essay responds to the same task in different ways. The first essay argues that this development is positive, the second essay argues that the development is negative, the third essay argues that the development has both positive and negative aspects.

Each essay is accompanied by an essay plan and vocabulary list.

Essay 1 (Positive)

The first essay takes the view that this development is a positive one. Three main reasons are presented: it provides people with access to a wider range of food, it provides economic benefits to countries that export the food and exposure to food from around the world encourages cultural understanding.

Essay Plan

  • Introduction
    • Paraphrase the essay topic.
    • State that this is a positive development.
  • Body Paragraph 1
    • Access to a diverse range of food.
    • Example: Availability of exotic fruits in Northern Europe.
  • Body Paragraph 2
    • Economic benefits for producing countries.
    • Example: Export opportunities for tropical countries.
  • Body Paragraph 3
    • Cultural exchange and understanding.
    • Example: Popularity of international cuisines.
  • Conclusion
    • Restate the positive aspects and conclude.


In recent years, supermarkets in many nations have started offering a variety of foods sourced from across the globe. I firmly believe that this trend is a positive development due to the numerous advantages it brings.

Firstly, the availability of international food products allows consumers to access a diverse range of foods that were previously unavailable. For instance, in Northern European countries, exotic fruits such as mangoes and papayas, which are not locally grown, can now be easily purchased in supermarkets. This not only enhances the culinary experience but also promotes healthier eating habits by providing a wider selection of nutritious options.

Secondly, the importation of food products has significant economic benefits for the countries that produce them. Many tropical countries, such as Costa Rica and Vietnam, rely heavily on the export of agricultural products like bananas and coffee. By exporting these goods, these countries can boost their economies, create jobs, and improve the standard of living for their citizens.

Furthermore, the presence of international foods in supermarkets fosters cultural exchange and understanding. As people are exposed to foods from different parts of the world, they become more curious about the cultures and traditions associated with these foods. This can be seen in the growing popularity of cuisines such as Japanese sushi, Mexican tacos, and Italian pasta in various countries. Such culinary exploration promotes cultural appreciation and broadens people’s perspectives.

In conclusion, the ability to buy food produced worldwide in supermarkets is undoubtedly a positive development. It not only provides consumers with a variety of food choices and supports the economies of producing countries but also encourages cultural exchange and understanding. These benefits collectively enhance the global community and contribute to a more interconnected world.

Vocabulary List

  1. Sourced from across the globe
  2. Trend
  3. Positive development
  4. Numerous advantages
  5. Availability
  6. Exotic fruits
  7. Culinary experience
  8. Nutritious options
  9. Economic benefits
  10. Agricultural products
  11. Boost their economies
  12. Standard of living
  13. Cultural exchange
  14. Curiosity
  15. Traditions
  16. Culinary exploration
  17. Cultural appreciation
  18. Broadens perspectives
  19. Food produced worldwide in supermarkets
  20. Foster understanding

Practice Exercise

Essay 2 (Negative)

This essay takes the opposite position to Essay 1. It argues that the development is a negative one. Again, three main reasons are given. Firstly, the negative environmental impact of transporting food across the world; secondly, the way it undermines domestic food traditions and the ability of a country to feed itself; and thirdly, how local farmers suffer from overseas competition.

Essay Plan

  • Introduction
    • Paraphrase the essay topic.
    • State that this is a negative development.
  • Body Paragraph 1
    • Environmental impact of transporting food.
    • Example: Carbon footprint of imported avocados from Mexico to Europe.
  • Body Paragraph 2
    • Loss of local food traditions and self-sufficiency.
    • Example: Decline of traditional British orchards.
  • Body Paragraph 3
    • Economic strain on local farmers.
    • Example: Competition faced by local dairy farmers from cheaper imported milk.
  • Conclusion
    • Restate the negative aspects and conclude.


In contemporary society, the presence of globally produced food in supermarkets is increasingly common. However, I believe this development is predominantly negative due to its environmental, cultural, and economic repercussions.

Firstly, the environmental impact of transporting food across vast distances is substantial. The carbon footprint associated with importing avocados from Mexico to Europe, for example, is significant. The fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions from such long-haul transportation contribute to climate change and environmental degradation. Reducing the need for long-distance food transport by focusing on locally sourced products could help mitigate these environmental issues.

Secondly, the availability of international foods can lead to a decline in local food traditions and self-sufficiency. For instance, in the UK, traditional British orchards are dwindling as consumers increasingly prefer imported fruits like oranges and pineapples. This shift not only erodes local food heritage but also undermines the sustainability of local agriculture. Maintaining local food traditions is essential for preserving cultural identity and ensuring a resilient local food system.

Moreover, the influx of imported food products can place economic strain on local farmers. Local dairy farmers, for instance, often struggle to compete with the lower prices of imported milk. This competition can lead to a decrease in the profitability of local farming, resulting in farm closures and loss of livelihoods. Supporting local farmers by prioritizing their products in supermarkets can help sustain the local economy and ensure food security.

In conclusion, while the global availability of food in supermarkets may offer some benefits, it poses significant environmental, cultural, and economic challenges. By prioritizing local produce, we can reduce environmental impact, preserve local food traditions, and support local farmers, thereby fostering a more sustainable and resilient food system.

Vocabulary List

  1. Predominantly negative
  2. Environmental repercussions
  3. Carbon footprint
  4. Long-haul transportation
  5. Climate change
  6. Environmental degradation
  7. Locally sourced products
  8. Mitigate environmental issues
  9. Local food traditions
  10. Self-sufficiency
  11. Erodes local food heritage
  12. Sustainability
  13. Resilient local food system
  14. Cultural identity
  15. Economic strain
  16. Influx
  17. Profitability
  18. Farm closures
  19. Food security
  20. Sustainable and resilient

Practice Exercise

Try to complete Essay 2 WITHOUT looking at it! Drag and drop the missing words/phrases into the correct spaces. (The exercise work best on desktop, not mobile).

Essay 3 (Positive and Negative)

The third essay takes the position that there are both positive and negative impacts of this development. The essay provides 2 positive impacts (access to diverse food, economic benefits to developing countries) and two negative impacts (environmental impact and loss of domestic food culture).

Essay Plan

  • Introduction
    • Paraphrase the essay topic.
    • State that the development has both positive and negative aspects.
  • Body Paragraph 1
    • Positive: Access to diverse foods and dietary benefits.
    • Example: Superfoods like quinoa becoming globally available.
  • Body Paragraph 2
    • Positive: Economic opportunities for developing countries.
    • Example: Coffee exports from Ethiopia.
  • Body Paragraph 3
    • Negative: Environmental impact and carbon footprint.
    • Example: Air freight of perishable goods.
  • Body Paragraph 4
    • Negative: Potential loss of local food culture.
    • Example: Traditional Italian cuisine overshadowed by international fast food.
  • Conclusion
    • Acknowledge both sides and suggest a balanced approach.


The global availability of food in supermarkets is a trend that carries both positive and negative implications. While it offers several benefits, it also presents significant challenges that must be considered.

On the positive side, access to a wide range of international foods enhances dietary diversity and promotes better nutrition. For instance, the global popularity of superfoods like quinoa has introduced a highly nutritious grain to diets worldwide. Such foods provide essential nutrients and health benefits that might not be available in locally produced items, contributing to overall well-being.

Moreover, the importation of food products offers economic opportunities for developing countries. Ethiopian coffee, for instance, is a major export that supports the livelihoods of countless farmers and contributes to the national economy. Such trade can enhance economic development and reduce poverty in producing regions.

However, the environmental impact of transporting food across the globe cannot be ignored. The carbon footprint associated with air freighting perishable goods is considerable, contributing to global warming and environmental degradation. For example, the air transportation of fresh produce from South America to Europe generates significant greenhouse gas emissions, undermining efforts to combat climate change.

In addition, the influx of international foods can lead to the erosion of local food cultures. In Italy, for example, traditional cuisine is increasingly overshadowed by the popularity of international fast food chains. This shift not only affects cultural heritage but also impacts the local food industry, which struggles to compete with global brands.

In conclusion, while the presence of globally sourced food in supermarkets has notable advantages such as improved nutrition and economic opportunities, it also poses significant environmental and cultural challenges. A balanced approach that promotes both global trade and local food sustainability is essential to maximize benefits while mitigating negative impacts.

Vocabulary List

  1. Implications
  2. Dietary diversity
  3. Nutritional benefits
  4. Superfoods
  5. Highly nutritious
  6. Essential nutrients
  7. Overall well-being
  8. Environmental impact
  9. Air freighting
  10. Global warming
  11. Environmental degradation
  12. Perishable goods
  13. Greenhouse gas emissions
  14. Combat climate change
  15. Economic opportunities
  16. Livelihoods
  17. National economy
  18. Economic development
  19. Reduce poverty
  20. Cultural heritage
  21. Local food industry
  22. Global brands
  23. Balanced approach
  24. Mitigating impacts

Practice Exercise

Oh no! The third essay has been cut into small pieces! Can you put it back together again. Put the sentences into the correct order.

About the author

Charlie is a former IELTS Examiner with 25 years' teaching experience all over the world. His courses, for both English language learners and teachers, have been taken by over 100,000 students in over 160 countries around the world.