A distribution gap measures the difference between projected food consumption and the amount of food needed to increase consumption in food-deficit income groups within individual countries to meet nutritional requirements. Inadequate economic access to food is the major cause of chronic undernutrition in developing countries and is related to the level of income. In the ERS global food security model, the total projected amount of available food is allocated among different income groups using income distribution data.
A nutrition gap is estimated to measure food insecurity. This gap represents the difference between projected food supplies and the food needed to support per capita nutritional standards at the national level.
A status quo gap is estimated to measure changes in food security. This gap represents the difference between projected food supplies and the food needed to maintain per capita consumption of the most recent 3-year period.