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Exploring the mega trends shaping our food industry.

Vincent Doumeizel – VP Food, Beverage and Sustainability at Lloyd’s Register (LR) recently addressed the LR Foundation conference on the role of innovation in driving food safety, supply and sustainability.

I joined this organisation four years ago because of Lloyd's Register (LR)'s commitment of working together for a safer world, underpinned with a commercially compelling service and solution portfolio.  I personally believe that the ultimate objective of any market economy can only be strengthened by more social justice and so far, I’ve not been disappointed during my time here at LR.

When it comes to food, food is much more than a commodity. Food tells you about your journey into life, your traditions and the world you want to live in.

A year ago, 160 countries voted at the United Nations (UN) to make food a human right as opposed to being a commodity. It was defined that everyone on this planet should have access to sufficient food – both quantitively and qualitatively - in a culturally acceptable way. Are we getting near to this goal?  Well, we are getting better but it’s not done yet. There’s a long way to go and there’s a lot of hurdles to overcome.

So Lloyd’s Register has been working in the food sector for many years and is a worldwide leader in food audit and verification services and solutions, but as mentioned, the food supply chain has a lot of obstacles to overcome.

Exploring the mega trends shaping our food industry

If we look at some of the mega trends within the food sector, the first is population growth - which is by far the most significant one; we’ve got an extra 300,000 people on earth every day to feed. However:

  • We’ve got no arable land left
  • We’ve got the growing part of our crops being converted into biofuel
  • We’ve got yields that have been declining for years and years and
  • We’ve got almost one billion people going to bed hungry every night.

So that’s a problem; it’s a problem because the developing world wants to eat the same as the Western world, so ultimately the calorie demand is growing ten times more than population growth.

So just to summarise:

  • 5 planets

    • If the whole world could eat the same amount of meat that we do in Europe, we would need five planets covered with grazing lands - ocean included.
  • 50 years

    • Various studies show that in the next 50 years or so we will have to produce as much food as we ever produced as human beings
  • 10,000 years

    • And that production relates to what we have produced over the last 10,000 years; that’s a challenge but we’ll find a way.

In the next article, I will be talking about the current issues faced in the food and beverage industry – and what can we do about them?

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