Obesity and hunger issues are prompting a rethink of food and agriculture

Preparing for 2050 to eventually feed 10 billion people globally requires an intense focus on how farmers and ranchers view their food production, tell their own story, and help eliminate misunderstandings between consumers and producers.

50% more food is needed by 2050, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). After writing a 2021 book, “Why Smart People Make Bad Food Choices,” author and attorney Jacques Bobo, director of global food and water policy at the Nature Conservancy, told a webinar audience that sustainability is another direction and way to do good.

A webinar hosted by the Kansas Beef Council last fall focused on rethinking food and agriculture. Bobo suggested that farmers, scientists and policy makers explain why they do what they do, which will resonate with people. As you talk to others, tell them things are getting better but not fast enough, recommends Bobo, who is also CEO of Futurity Food, a forward-looking food company.

“This is very important, because after 2050, global population levels decline when the number of children stabilizes at the peak. The challenge is not to produce more and more food forever, but to produce more now until 2050,” Bobo said.

Nine million people die each year from hunger-related diseases. Trends are changing, said Jack Bobo, but not fast enough to feed a growing world.

Image sent by Futurety Food


Every day, between now and 2050, it is difficult to produce more food without draining the rivers, lakes, and aquifers, Bobo told the webinar audience, and we have this one window through the next 30 years that will determine the fate of the planet.

Beef production has increased by 50% in the past 50 years, mostly due to improved technology, management practices, and genetics. Animal agriculture is pivotal in creating a stronger and more efficient food production system.

Bobo said the top three reasons why animal farming today is better than it was in the past and will be better in the future are:

  1. Genetic improvements mean fewer animals can produce the same amount or more food.
  2. Less inputs are required to produce animal feed.
  3. Better use of the whole animal, including rendering.

Meanwhile, obesity and hunger are emerging as food-related issues in the United States and the world. Today, obesity rates are 42% in the United States, and were less than 15% in 1975. Currently, no country has an obesity rate of less than 15%.

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Obesity has increased widely in the United States and the world. A darker shade of blue indicates about 40% of obesity rates in the population.

Image sent by Futurety Food

Obesity is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 30; It is a measure of body fat based on height and weight.

There needs to be conversations about healthy diets and how to reshape our food, Bobo said, and animal protein is part of that healthy diet. More people in foreign countries need animal protein to prevent stunting.

Nine million people die each year from hunger-related diseases, the equivalent of one person every four seconds, most of them children.

“I use 1980-2011 information on how many resources we use to produce a bushel of corn, we use 35% less greenhouse gases, 40% less land and 40% less energy, and if you can produce food using fewer inputs — and with global sustainability, it’s about The order to intensively farm a plot of land.“The effects are local, but the benefits are global,” Bobo said.

In Europe, the goal is to reduce pesticides by half, reduce fertilizer use by 20% and expand organic production to 25%.

Instead of blaming the farmers and ranchers, we need to ask them and work together. How can we get the resources to accelerate these improvements,” Bobo said.

He said that people like innovation as much as they like change, but people don’t like change with their food. But if we don’t change, everything will change.

“It’s important to make our food less scary,” he said. “One example: If you can’t pronounce the ingredients, you shouldn’t eat them, that’s a concern. Another way to deal with this problem is to show a picture showing that all foods are made with chemicals.”

The future holds two directions, health and sustainability. Health labeling is emerging in Europe and could come to US industry leaders who will watch whether these new labels prompt consumers to make different choices.

Bobo’s book “Why Smart People Make Bad Food Choices” is about consumer psychology and understanding how the brain sometimes leads people to make bad decisions. The second part delves into how our food environment is; Portion sizes and how we relate to food and snacks have changed over the past 50 years. The final segment focuses on reshaping our food environment for healthy results; So we didn’t have to count calories, and we don’t need pills to help de-stress about food.

Bobo wrote the book because even though people have more access to nutrition, obesity is higher than ever.

Reporter Amy Hadashek is a two-time Emmy Award-winning meteorologist and storm chaser with the NWA and AMS Broadcast Meteorology Seals of Approval. She and her husband live on a diverse farm in Kansas. You can reach her at [email protected]