The Future of Food - 4

6 Factors Drive Food-Consumption Trends

Todd Neeley
By  Todd Neeley , DTN Environmental Editor
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As countries such as China, India, the Middle East and north Africa increase diet diversification, this creates demand for higher-quality food, more protein and more household labor-saving food products. (DTN file photo by Jim Patrico)

LINCOLN, Neb. (DTN) -- During the next decade, what people will eat will depends on several different factors, including people's incomes in certain countries, what happens with diseases in animals and poultry, and in what ways people care about the ways their food is raised.

In the special series "The Future of Food," DTN is looking at food insecurity but also some of the future trends, crops farmers plan to grow, technology they'll use and even new ways to grow their crops and process their animals more efficiently.

In today's story, the fourth in the series, we look at some of the main trends that will affect food consumption globally.

1. Immigration patterns: Immigration shifts what people want to eat. The European Union is projected to be the fourth-largest food importer of rice in the next decade, with imports expected to rise by 16% to a record 2.4 million metric tons. Asian aromatic rice varieties account for the bulk of the imports, partly fueled by immigration from Africa, Asia and the Middle East, as well as preferential access provided through agreements with Southeast Asian countries.

2. Food costs and income levels: As countries such as China, India, the Middle East and north Africa increase diet diversification, this creates demand for higher-quality food, more protein and more household labor-saving food products. Even among low-income families, modest increases in incomes can lead to diets including alternative staple foods and increased imports.

3. China, Hong Kong saw pork imports double as of 2020: As a result of African swine fever that decimated pig numbers, consumption is likely to outpace pork production as Chinese/Hong Kong farms contend with disease risk, higher feed costs and expenses for biosecurity and waste treatment.

4. Population trends: Population growth rates have a significant effect on total food consumption and trade. Middle- and low-income countries have relatively higher population growth rates and younger age demographics than high-income countries. Even with modest increases in per-capita food consumption, large population growth rates will lead to substantial increases in total demand for commodities and food products, increasing imports and global trade. Africa, for example, is projected to have a population growth rate of 2.3% per year through 2031, with the population increasing by 318.7 million people by 2031 to reach 1.7 billion people. This projected population increase for Africa is nearly equivalent to the population of the entire United States.

5. Sustainability issues: The demand for foods produced in an environmentally friendly way will continue to be a component of diets in many nations. A segment of the population will continue to make food purchases based on animal welfare, whether foods are organic, etc., all depending on where they live and their culture and belief system.

6. Health concerns: During the next decade, there will continue to be a move toward consuming more poultry and pork, as well as a shift in some other foods, because of real or perceived health benefits.

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Editor's Note:

This is the fourth story in "The Future of Food" series.

Other articles in the series include:

"Editor's Notebook," https://www.dtnpf.com/…

"The Future of Food - 1," https://www.dtnpf.com/….

"The Future of Food - 2," https://www.dtnpf.com/…

"The Future of Food - 3," https://www.dtnpf.com/…

Todd Neeley can be reached at todd.neeley@dtn.com

Follow him on Twitter @DTNeeley

Todd Neeley

Todd Neeley
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