In a world plagued by hunger and famine, the existence of food surpluses could be interpreted as, at best, paradoxical or, at worst, morally indefensible. Surely, some argue, the food surpluses of the developed world can be used to eliminate the food deficits of the developing world, as revealed by Chapter 10. But circumstances are never as simple as they might first appear, and the purpose of this chapter is to throw some light upon the causes and characteristics of food surpluses, so as to lay the foundations for an understanding of their place in food aid (Chapter 12) and food trade (Chapter 13).