Food security for the world. With sustainable investments.
The growing world population will lead to a doubling of the global demand for food. To ensure there is enough food to feed the world, a shift in the food industry is not optional, but mandatory. Private investors can also play a role in shaping this change by means of sustainable investments.
Will the world have enough food in 2050?
According to UN estimates, the world population is set to rise from just eight billion people today to around ten billion people by 2050. As a result of this demographic development, the global food requirement will more than double. To secure the feeding of the global population, it is clear that the production, distribution, and consumption of foodstuffs will by necessity undergo a drastic transformation over the coming years. Not least because today's global food system is highly inefficient and there continues to be an imbalance between the industrialized and developing worlds. But the transformation will not only focus on ensuring that there's enough food – environmental and health impacts are also central factors of this shift.
Sustainably feeding the world is still a long way off
The modern production, processing, and distribution of foodstuffs has put a significant burden on the environment all around the world. Whereas the food industry accounts for just 10 percent of global GDP, the global footprint of our food supply system is huge: More than a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions and more than 90 percent of global freshwater consumption is attributable to food production and consumption. As a compounding factor, more than a third of all foodstuffs are lost during the production process or end up as waste further down the line, putting further pressure on global resources. For example, the average Swiss person discards some 900 g of food waste every day – equivalent to more than 300 kg of waste per person per year.
Not everyone around the world has enough to eat today
When viewed at a global level the food sector does not fulfill its own purpose very well. More than 700 million people worldwide are currently undernourished and suffering from hunger. This figure has actually risen sharply over the last 18 months due to the coronavirus pandemic.
At the same time, and no less worryingly, around 1.8 billion people today are overweight or obese. This is equivalent to some 40 percent of the global adult population. The consequences of this phenomenon are a strong rise in diet-related illnesses such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. A number of studies suggest that 20 percent of all adult deaths can be attributed to poor eating habits.
Shape future developments with sustainable investments
An unfolding change towards more sustainable nutrition in the food industry can already be discerned. This is seen in the growing awareness of the connections between food, its production, and health. In Europe in particular, regulatory pressure in the food sector is rising inexorably. Furthermore, consumers are increasingly demanding sustainable and healthy products. Pressure from governments and changed consumer behavior is leading to the rise of new companies that apply innovative methods for manufacturing food.
There is enormous potential for becoming more efficient and reducing the environmental footprint not just in the areas of sustainable agriculture and efficient food processing, but also at the final consumption stage. These developments are in turn opening up all sorts of interesting possibilities for investors, specifically for shaping the impending transformation of the global food system constructively with targeted investments and reaping the corresponding portfolio returns.