Hmm, it's strange how France's reaction to a shortage of food is identical to their reaction to an abundance of food. In fact I wonder how much EU dumping of excess food in the past has done to suppress the development of local farming in the poorer parts of the planet.
I won't claim to fully understand what is behind the surge in food prices but some of the most often cited explanations don't make a great deal of sense, biofuels only take up 1.5% of the world's agricultural land so they can't explain a two year doubling in prices, meat eating is increasing but not fast enough to explain the rate of the increase, similarly the population is not growing fast enough to account for it. The only explanations that appear to make sense are that it is down to the increase in fuel prices combined with with a vicious circle of people hoarding because they believe that food is scarce which then causes real shortages.
Update: On the subject of biofuels Mr Eugenides chronicle's the Independent's shameless about turn on the issue.