According to the United Nations, the world population is projected to reach over 9 billion by 2050 posing a challenge to the future of food security. A recently released report, The Feed Behind Our Food, seeks to address this challenge by highlighting the impacts of animal feed on global food security and the environment and offering practical steps towards a more sustainable future. The report was formed through deep dives at Forum for the Future, a forum connecting actors across various disciplines to solve sustainability challenges, and discuss food security, environmental health, and production transparency.
The report tackles issues related to agricultural land used for animal feed, stating that half of all agricultural land is currently used for the production of animal feed, and estimating that an additional 280 million hectares will be required to meet future demand. According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), current practices are depleting natural resources, contributing to deforestation and biodiversity losses, and are responsible for significant greenhouse gas emissions. The Feed Behind Our Food report creates a set of nine criteria addressing these issues for agricultural companies to work toward including strategies to minimize greenhouse gas emissions, reduce pollution and freshwater use, support restorative land practices, strengthen biodiversity, promote animal nutrition, and support human rights.
The report encourages interested food retailers to assess animal feed in their own products, allowing companies to engage in honest dialogue and research to identify feed ingredients throughout their supply chain following a set of questions provided by the report. The companies then strategize, set internal goals, and identify possible collaborations as defined by the nine criteria set out in the report. This includes specific steps to improve current practices and propose innovative solutions. Companies are encouraged to work circularly, continually scrutinizing and improving strategies.
According to Simon Billing, the Protein Challenge 2040 lead at Forum for the Future, “Collaboration across the supply chain is critical to address the environmental impacts of feed. This report is the first step in helping retail and foodservice professionals start to build knowledge of their feed security, and join forces with their suppliers, including producers and feed companies, to formulate strategies together to speed up progress on sustainable animal feed.”
Ever on the search to enhance sustainable solutions, the diverse actors responsible for The Feed Behind Our Food report are currently developing a Feed Compass tool, which will be an “easy-to-use tool that will help the food industry compare different types of feed and guide purchasing decisions.” To find out more or to get involved please reach out to Joanie Koh at firstname.lastname@example.org.