Population Growth

It took humanity thousands of years to reach 1 billion people, but only another 130 years to reach 2 billion. Only 12 years were needed between 5 billion and 6 billion. By 2050, global population is expected to reach 9.3 billion.

One of the challenges we face with a growing population is environmental pressure. Air pollution, once primarily an urban problem, is now a global ecological issue. Rising demand for food increases greenhouse gases from agricultural use of fossil fuels, fertilizer and intensive animal production. Drinking water supplies are challenged by scarcity and sanitation in many parts of the world and pollution from industry and agricultural run-off in others.

Our booming human population is crowding out other species. Loss of habitat drives plant and animal species toward extinction, and crowding humans and wildlife together increases zoonotic disease transfer. Preserving genetic diversity in crop and food animal species will be critical to our ability to adapt to changes in climate and food demand over time.

Changing Dynamics of the Global Supermarket

With a growing population comes an increased demand in food. Today about 50% of us live in towns and cities but by 2050, this is expected to rise to between 70 and 85%. This will also mean a change in income and food dynamics. As income rises, the amounts, types and reasons we buy specific food change.

The ways we make food purchase decisions are already evident as we see in the changing dynamics of the global supermarket playing out in our own local grocery stores. We are now looking for the right nutrients, not just the right food. We look beyond the label at the message behind the products we buy. There has never been a time that the consumer has felt as empowered as now and at the same time as far away from the farm.

We must find the balance for sustainable food production, production of energy, and protection of resources while satisfying the consumer demands we face. We in agriculture must think differently from how we have in the past by adopting new technology at a faster pace and communicating in a way we never have before. This dynamic environment will define how our world looks in the future and holds incredible opportunities to shape our globe.

Alltech is studying the possibilities that lie within the ACE Principle, improving the performance of the Animal, satisfying the Consumer, and protecting the Environment, one of the core philosophies of our company since 1985. The balance of these three elements is critical as we look at the challenges and opportunities that 2050 presents.

Find out more about the ACE Principle [+]