Feeding the world by 2030

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Feeding the world by 2030: Deloitte and WEF examine the future of global food systems

News Release

  • World population of 8.5 billion will need to be fed sustainably and nutritiously in 2030
  • Report identifies critical uncertainties, four future scenarios for global food systems and implications of these four possible futures

NEW YORK, NY, USA, 12 January, 2017—A global population expected to reach 8.5 billion by 2030 and a current food system that is unfit to support that population is forcing global leaders to rethink what the future of global food systems will look like, according to a report released today by Deloitte and the World Economic Forum (WEF). Shaping the Future of Global Food Systems: A Scenarios Analysis explores how feeding this rapidly growing population nutritiously and sustainably will require substantial advancements to the global food system – one that must address a range of considerations from livelihoods for farmers to nutritious products for consumers, all while minimizing negative environmental impacts.

“Meeting the formidable, multi-faceted challenges facing global food systems today will likely require a systems-level transformation rather than just incremental improvements,” said Shay Eliaz, Principal at Monitor Deloitte, Deloitte Consulting LLP. “As the population continues to grow, our research seeks to answer an important question: how will food systems nutritiously and sustainably feed 8.5 billion people in 2030?”

Identifying and understanding the critical uncertainties that will shape the future of global food systems was the first step to tackle this question. According to Deloitte and WEF, the two most critical uncertainties identified are demand shift and market connectivity. Based on a matrix of these two uncertainties, the research identifies four potential scenarios for the future of global food systems in 2030.

"Scenarios can help business leaders make more informed strategic decisions to cope with an uncertain world,” said Jim Moffatt, Deloitte Global Consulting Business Leader. “This set of scenarios illuminates the tremendous risks and opportunities in global food systems and suggests actions towards a more desired future."

Each scenario presents a unique set of opportunities and challenges.

  • Survival of the Richest: In a world of resource-intensive consumption and disconnected markets, there is a sluggish global economy and a stark division between the “haves” and “have-nots.”
  • Unchecked Consumption: With strong market connectivity and resource-intensive consumption, this is a world of high GDP growth with high environmental cost.
  • Local Is the New Global: In a world of fragmented local markets with resource-efficient consumption, resource-rich countries focus on local foods, whereas import-dependent regions become hunger hotspots.
  • Open-source Sustainability: A future linking highly-connected markets and resource-efficient consumption has increased international cooperation and innovation, but may leave some behind.

According to the report, there is a window of opportunity for a new era of business and for policy makers to develop the necessary “smart policies” in order to drive food sustainability forward. Leadership is critical from all sectors to build greater levels of transparency, trust and collaboration within food systems. This will advance efforts to help transform global food systems and nutritiously and sustainably feed future populations.

“There is no question that the world’s food systems play a central role in the health and well-being of society and are a key driver of economic livelihoods,” added Eliaz. “In an increasingly volatile and complex world, we must build global food systems that are resilient and that can meet the needs of our growing and changing population. The goal of this research is to lead the way in finding solutions for any – or a combination of – the risks these scenarios present to current and future global food systems.”

As used in this press release, “Deloitte” refers only to the Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited member firms.


Stephen Soyland
Global Communications
Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited
Tel: +1 212 492 4503

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