Feeding the World

Continued economic growth with 1.2 billion more people by 2025 will put pressure on energy, food and water resources. Water and food resources will become scarcer as they are divided among more and more people. Global food production will have to rise by 110% in the next 40 years to keep up. Read on to discover emerging opportunities and risk in food markets.
What is changing?


  • Food retail growth in real terms is forecast to slow down in the 5 years 2015-2020 at £23.1bn compared to the actual growth 2010-2015 which was £25.5bn.
  • Helping people to avoid ‘overserving’ themselves or others with larger portions of food or drink by reducing their size, availability, and appeal in shops, restaurants, and in the home is likely to be a good way of helping lots of people to reduce their risk of overeating.
  • Organic food will continue to sustain growth of 9 percent or higher.

Country impacts

  • Certain parts of the world will become less viable places to live due to unreliable food and water supplies and growing severity of floods and storms.
  • Africa will have to find the right balance between land resources, food security and the development of new partnerships and external markets.
  • The shrinking of Japan’s agricultural sector will continue.


  • Demand for food, driven by population, demographic changes and increasing global wealth will rise more than 60 percent by 2050.
  • There will be an extra 2 billion people to feed worldwide.
  • With a global human population quickly rising above eight billion people scarce high value proteins from dairy, potato and fish will now enter the foodchain for human consumption.


  • A switch from use of arable land for food to fuel crops provides a limited solution and could exacerbate both the energy and food situations.
  • Access to relatively secure and clean energy sources and management of chronic food and water shortages will assume increasing importance for a growing number of countries during the next 15-20 years.

Climate change

  • Hunger and malnutrition could increase by as much as 20 percent as a result of climate change” by 2050.
  • Natural resources for agriculture and fisheries (such as land and water) will come under increasing pressure from urbanisation and industrialisation.
  • Changing rainfall patterns will affect agricultural productivity, especially in African countries. While Southern Africa could risk losing 30 % of its coarse grain output by 2030, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi could face as much as a 50 % reduction in yields by 2020.


  • Identifying structural properties of fished food webs is as important for sustainable fisheries management as attempting to predict climate and fisheries effects within each ecosystem.
  • Investments in aquaculture research and new technology will be vital to sustain growth as competition for space and scarce water resources put growing pressure on ability to increase in yields.
  • Asia in particular is expected to make up 70 percent of global fish consumption by 2030.


  • Brands that go above and beyond to share accurate and reliable product information with consumers will ultimately be rewarded with increasedconsumer trust.
  • Violators of food safety laws will face what are widely regarded as the heaviest civil and criminal punishments ever mandated in China.


  • An empty stomach is an angry one and food scarcity could stoke political instability around the globe.
  • While food availability might be improving, livelihood threats, fish and genetic diversity loss and other pressures are making it less certain that Asian populations will have access to sufficient amounts of food in 10 or 15 years from now.
  • Overfishing may lead to the collapse of commercial fisheries and seafood industries by 2048.
  • There will be significant pressures on water available for domestic and industrial use and for food production.
  • Cutting cost poses increased risk of contaminants (e.g. agrochemicals, mycotoxins) entering the food chain.
  • Farm production probably will continue to be hampered by misguided agriculture policies that limit investment and distort critical price signals.
  • To avoid potential claims by competitors, food and beverage companies will now need to review their labels for more than just compliance with FDA regulations.
  • Whether we like it or not, genetically modified crops will be completely and totally taken to new levels.


  • Achieving the world caloric needs for 2030 will result in a continued requirement for support for agricultural research and use of technology for food production.
  • SDG Target 12.3 will call for the world to cut per capita food waste in half by 2030.
  • Production and manufacturing will be reformed to meet TPP standards on the environment, labor, and food safety.
  • Artificial Intelligence-based technologies will be used to forecast food and beverage demand more accurately as pressure grows for better cost control and reduced waste.
  • Internet of Things technology will one day be widely used to boost food security.
  • New packaging solutions will focus more on food safety by controlling microbial growth.
  • Vertical farms could reduce transportation costs (and associated emissions) of food.
  • Much could be done to “green” pet foods but the industry is just starting to grapple with its sustainability issues.
  • Whether we like it or not, genetically modified crops will be completely and totally taken to new levels.

Produced by our robot, Athena, and edited by us in 1 hour 3 minutes from our unique Indicators database.

Learn more
What future opportunities and risks could arise for your organization from advances in ‘Feeding the World? Develop your answer and response here.

Find the sources and more resources on Shaping Tomorrow’s ‘Feeding the World’, some of which were used in this Trend Alert, or ask us for our ready-made and free, in-depth PowerPoint report or more detailed GIST briefing on this or any other topic of interest to you.

Also, click here to find out how Shaping Tomorrow can help your organization rapidly assess and respond to these and other key issues affecting your business.

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