A HARD LOOK INTO THE STATE OF FOOD, CURRENT CONSUMPTION PATTERNS, AND WHERE FOOD IS HEADED IN THE NEAREST FUTURE.
Did you know, today, worldwide, for every malnourished person, there are two people who are obese or overweight? 868 million undernourished people and 1.5 billion obese or overweight people globally – according to Eating in 2030: trends and perspectives 2018 report. Guess where the highest concentration of malnourished people reside, yes your guess is obviously as good as mine. Africa remains the continent with the highest prevalence of undernourished people in the world. Affecting almost 21% of the population (more than 256 million people), South America follows immediately after with 5% in 2017, and fewer in Northern America and Europe with 2.5%, according to the state of food security and nutrition in the world 2018 report.
Did you know 36 million people die every year from lack of food and 29 million people from too much food globally? This is a perfect case of choosing your demon, would you rather die from the lack of or too much food? My answer is neither.
And did you know one-third of all food produced worldwide is made for feeding livestock? In addition, a growing share of agricultural land is used for the production of biofuel. This means we are choosing to feed both animals and automobiles instead of people (Eating in 2030: trends and perspectives 2018 report).
Also, did you know every year 1.3 billion tons of perfectly edible food is wasted, while 868 million people suffer from hunger globally? This is the state of food in the world at the moment, we are likely headed for hunger, aren’t we?
Right now there’s so much conversation about the importance of food, which is why we see an increasing number of Africans adopting health consciousness and consuming more organic food as opposed to the synthesized meals. However, following the obvious trend of emotional eating the conversation would soon shift from the importance of food to the importance of healthy eating. People are anxious with weight loss and as such take up unhealthy dietary plans that do more harm than good. The growing scale of depression and emotional ill health in Africa is causing people to find solace in food without much care of the composition of what they put in their mouths.
The future of food is seemingly bleak but the great part is, it can be salvaged. We do not have to adopt the knee jerk approach where we have to wait for the future to come before we implement measures to deal with it.
What can we do?
Use the high interconnectedness that currently exists among people to disseminate information around the importance of healthy eating.
Institutions should promote the adoption of lifestyles and eating habits that favor the consumption of foods that contribute to a healthy diet and have less impact on the eco-system of the planet
The industry should focus more on promoting the purchase of healthy foods and use balanced price leverage to discourage the use of junk food
Strategies should be deployed to encourage people to find the space and time to devote to meals in the company of other people. This way they are motivated to eat healthier meals.
More so, the food industry must continue to develop new forms of convenience foods that have a high level of nutrition