How to Feed 1.5 Billion Extra People Using Only the Crops We've Already Grown
Do you need to bring an example of sustainable food to class? Curious how are we going to feed 10 billion people by 2050? Looking for sustainable food production companies?
How can we feed our growing population?
Animal agriculture wastes 93% of nutrients
Efficiency varies between 3% (beef) to 17% (dairy)
Figure 1. A Sankey flow diagram of the US feed-to-food caloric flux from the three feed classes (left) into edible animal products (right). On the right, parenthetical percentages are the food-out/feed-in caloric conversion efficiencies of individual livestock categories. Caloric values are in Pcal, 1012 kcal. Overall, 1187 Pcal of feed are converted into 83 Pcal edible animal products, reflecting a weighted mean conversion efficiency of approximately 7%.
Much of what we feed to animals is high-quality nutrients that can be eaten by humans instead
Between 1950 and 2009, global consumption of meat more than doubled. If demand for meat continues to increase at its current rate, by 2050 we’ll be eating two thirds more meat than we do today—which would also mean emitting two thirds more greenhouse gases from meat production. If we find new ways to get the protein we currently get from meat, we can help keep these emissions down. Some alternative sources for protein include insects, microalgae, bacteria, mycoprotein, and synthetic or lab-grown meat. We also need to feed animals differently: much of what we feed farm animals is high-quality protein that humans could eat instead. New sources of animal feed will not only make more protein available for us to eat, but also reduce pressure on land use and the land footprint of agriculture.
The meal is the by-product of the oil extraction process. The majority of the financial value of the seed comes from the oil, and the meal is often wasted. Sometimes, the meal is used as a livestock feed, primarily for ruminants, like cows.
We can feed 10x more people if we PROCESS plants directly
Extrusion technology can make tasty snacks from plants with 98% efficiency.
Extrusion technology works with ingredients as they are (no prior sterilization is needed).
Extrusion technology uses thermo-mechanical energy to cook high fiber ingredients and puff them into snacks. It combines the best features from Ultra-high temperature (UHT) and High-pressure processing (HPP) in one step.
Short term cooking does not affect the integrity of the nutrients, and is energy efficient.
Example of sustainable food
Sunflower chips made in the University of Minnesota
Ingredients: Sunflower Meal, Organic Whole Grain Brown Rice Flour, BBQ Seasoning (Sugar, Salt, Paprika, Spices (Including Pepper, Celery), Garlic Powder, Natural Hickory Smoke Flavor (Contains Maltodextrin), Citric Acid), Non-GMO Tapioca Starch, Sunflower Oil, Paprika Extract (as a color), Sea Salt, Rosemary
Is it edible?
The biggest question with food products is "does it taste good?" Customers who got the opportunity to try samples report as follows:
Health benefits of sustainable food
Extruded snacks like ours contain a comparable amount of protein to animal products. If you like snacking, now you can eat all day long.
Chips made from Sunflower meal have 3x more protein, 2x more fiber and 3x less fat per serving than typical potato chips.
How does sustainable food help protect the environment?
The USDA reports that the world's supply of oilcake in 2017 is 334.82 million metric tons.
1 kg of sunflower meal contains 3410 calories of energy (which is similar to the calories in other oil seed meals).
One person needs 2000 calories per day, 365 days a year.
If you convert the annual volume of meals into annual caloric needs for people, we find that we can feed 1.5 billion extra people using only oilseed meals.
Source: USDA, Oilseeds: World Markets and Trade Report, December 2017, PLANETARIANS
How amazing is it that we can feed so many more people, without needing to grow additional crops? Solutions to the challenges posed by a growing population are out there, we just need to find them.
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