Yesterday, one of the students using my writing correction service sent me an interesting IELTS question and it prompted me to write an answer that I thought might be helpful for readers of my website. In order to explain it, I’ve made the video below.

The Question

The question was this one:

Today food travels thousands of miles from the farm to the consumers.

Why is this?

Is this a positive or negative trend?

It is a two-part question and the topic is the transportation of food around the world. This is a recent IELTS question and it was given about one week ago.

I think the question is pretty easy to understand and two-part questions are generally easy to structure. Even so, I wanted to show you what an excellent response might look like, with an explanation of the content, structure, grammar, and vocabulary. This breakdown will show you why it received a band 9 for the four marking areas:

You can read my sample band 9 answer below.

Video Lesson

Here’s the video lesson:

Feel free to follow my channel for other videos. They are mostly different from this one in style but I do tend to cover a lot of aspects of IELTS writing.

Sample Band 9 Answer

If you don’t feel like watching the whole video, you can see my sample answer here:

It is very common now for food to travel large distances from producers to consumers. This essay will explain why that happens and then suggest that it is partially a negative phenomenon but that it has positive aspects.

To begin with, the main reason that food travels so far is because not all food products can be produced in all places. For example, bananas only grow in tropical regions and so they need to be shipped thousands of miles to reach consumers in colder parts of the world. Whilst it is true that they could probably be grown on a small scale in greenhouses in other places, this would drastically increase the price, which is in fact another reason for food travelling so far. Although it may seem counterintuitive, food is often sent across oceans and continents to save money. Even after shipping fees are paid, it is still cheaper to grow bananas in the tropics to sell them in London than it is to build vast greenhouses in England.

This is obviously a very wasteful situation because food needs to be loaded onto ships, trains, and trucks in order to carry it large distances. Many people are upset about the carbon footprint of such food items and understandably so. In addition, there are questions of exploitation to consider. To continue with the example of bananas, farmers in tropical regions do not always receive fair compensation. When a banana is sold in London, there are profits taken by the supermarket, various transportation companies, governments, buyers and importers, as well as exporters, before the farmer receives any money. Considering how cheap this is, it seems fundamentally unfair. On the other hand, food is now sent all over the world and undoubtedly this has improved people’s diets and exposure to various nutrients, which is quite positive, whilst at the same time lowering the price of food, causing a reduction in world hunger.

In conclusion, food is sent around the world for the seemingly paradoxical reason that it is cheaper than sourcing it locally. This has negative environmental impacts and is ethically questionable, but does have some possible positive factors.

The video explains the language I’ve used, as well as issues like crafting a good introduction and conclusion. I give a lot of explanation of the different features of structure and linking, too.