The World Food Crisis

By 2050 there is predicted to be around 9 billion people in the world with some of the largest concentrations of population growth being in countries without adequate food and water supply (1). Major changes in how food is sourced and supplied within these countries and new ingredients and foods need to be developed in order to meet demands (2). Changes to food and water supply also need to be made closer to home in order to meet the requirements of our own predicted population changes. Food has seen the biggest focus but research into water consumption suggests that the food industry as a whole needs to reduce water consumption by over 20% in order to ensure adequate production in the future. The issue is extremely broad as no predictions are going to be exactly accurate (3) as they also need to take into account climate change, fertility, waste and transportation as well as a whole host of other things. Some studies go as far as to suggest that we already produce more than enough food to meet these goals it’s just that the developed world wastes far too much and that the transportation is not adequate to get it where the food really needs to be (4).

As a single small company it can sometimes be difficult to know exactly what we can do to affect and influence the future of food to the required degree. A large amount of the research in the area can be conflicting and inconsistent, pushing opinions rather than facts and often have agendas to suit their own business’. A lot of these major campaigns tend to conflict with each other, some of the solutions to the world food crisis tend to go against the ideals of natural, or the drive to remove anything that is potentially bad for you such as salt, sugar and fats.

Over the past year at Bingham and Jones we have been looking further into some of the aspects that are affecting the global food crisis and how this will affect the future of food innovation. There are some key areas where the experts do tend to agree though, we need to waste less, use less energy and attempt to optimise production methods so that there is less resources used overall. At Bingham and Jones we have made attempts to curb our food waste by finding charities and other organisations that could take left over ingredients (5) and utilise them in some way and we have been looking at some of the new ingredients that have been developed as potential solutions to global hunger.

Some of our own research has touched on the topics of insects as a food source (6), ancient grains that have shown to be sustainable and economically viable for the future, high nutrition foods such as chlorella and spirulina and sustainable fish sourcing. Each of these can be quite a complex issue in their own right and the range of differing opinions out there can cause a lot of confusion when it comes to finding best practice. Our idea is that if we can suggest the optimal ingredient or process for our clients it looks good for them and helps to reach the goals set by the governmental bodies.

There is sometimes a downside to this, primarily it is quite a rarity for the ideals of cost, availability and sustainability to meet but so far we have had some definite success in this area and are developing a table of ingredients that are the stand outs in this field. Our research will continue as we are quite strong willed in this area and our mind-set during development is that we should be aiming to look at every aspect to meet a client’s brief. Our thoughts are that the food industry as a whole needs to work together on this issue and we should be a part of this. Really when it comes down to it, it is likely that small changes will end up making the biggest impacts when it comes to meeting the 2050 goals.

1) https://www.un.org/en/development/desa/news/population/un-report-world-population-projected-to-reach-9-6-billion-by-2050.html

2) http://www.fao.org/docrep/016/ap106e/ap106e.pdf

3) http://e360.yale.edu/slideshow/the_world_at_7_billion/13/1/

4) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eric-holt-gimenez/world-hunger_b_1463429.html

5) https://twitter.com/InnovationNPD/status/505327939798712320

6) http://www.foodmanufacture.co.uk/Manufacturing/Bingham-and-Jones-to-launch-ready-meals-with-bugs

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