July 13, 2017

14/07/2017: Perhaps the ultimate challenge

by Christophe Palletier

There certainly is no lack of challenges on the path to feeding a growing world population, but a successful future does not just stop with food volumes

 
Christophe Palletier
Beyond quantity, it is necessary to ensure that people eat balanced diets. Of course, this is true for those who are food insecure and need help to be able to access more food, but it just as true for the overweight and the obese. The health cost to society is high and is so the cost to the environment.

Although excess calories end up as body fat and not in landfills, overweight and obesity should be looked at as food waste nonetheless. After all, body fat is food that has been produced but not consumed for any useful purpose.

The problem is only getting bigger as rates of obesity are increasing among the population of emerging countries and are reaching alarming levels. It is not a Western countries’ problem anymore. It is a global one. There is no one particular cause to explain this trend, but it is a combination of lifestyle, example at home and education about the basics of nutrition.
 

We are what we eat and we eat what we are. Diets are undoubtedly a reflection of society and its values. One of the drivers of today’s economies is growth and too often this concept is restricted to quantitative growth.

We must be honest and recognise that our food and agriculture systems still are greatly production driven. Although the idea of a market-driven approach is widely spread, the practice seems to differ, and it looks like it is only translated in marketing-driven instead, always with an underlying production-driven thinking.

Just about all food sector and companies always look for ways to sell more volume. There is competition within any particular industry, but also between industries. For example, in the animal protein sector, poultry, pork, beef and fish are always trying to get a higher stomach share at the expense of one another.

Usually, the main decision factor for consumer to make their purchase is the relative price of one type of protein versus the others. The main message that consumers receive every day is: eat more of this or more of that.

Then, it is only normal that they do just that. Why expect any other behaviour? The result is a value system of always more, without really thinking about how it all adds up, while it should be about always enough.

Overconsumption leads to waste and to unbalanced diets. Waste is the number one enemy of sustainability, and educating the public about proper diet is actually an important weapon in fighting waste, but it is a difficult one. Although good habits are generally not any more difficult to adopt than bad habits, it seems that the latter group is more attractive.


Read the full article, HERE.
 

The Global Miller
This blog is maintained by The Global Miller staff and is supported by the magazine Milling and Grain
which is published by Perendale Publishers Limited.


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