Video underscores technology’s role in feeding a hungry world

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“About a billion people go hungry each day,” says Elanco Animal Health President Jeff Simmons, who narrates a newly released video shown above. That’s more people than the combined population of the United States, the European Union and Canada, he points out.

“Our population is growing. By the year 2050, the United Nations predicts the world population will grow to over nine billion people, and to feed that many people we’ll need to produce 100 percent more food than we did in the year 2000,” he says.

The current world population is slightly over 7 billion; by 2050, it is expected to exceed 9 billion. That is roughly a 30 percent increase, but the world’s appetite for food will actually double because of higher living standards in developing countries.

Simmons, shown narrating the video at Gleaners food bank in Indianapolis, says the way to meet this increased demand is through technology.

“But standing in the way is a myth you sometimes hear — a myth that says people don’t want safe, efficient technology used in food production,” he says.

“How do we know it’s a myth? Because we did some research” assembling data from 28 independent studies representing nearly 100,000 consumers in 26 countries, he says.

“It turns out that 95 percent of the consumers buy food based on taste, cost and nutrition,” he adds. Another 4 percent or so are lifestyle buyers. “These are luxury buyers, gourmet consumers, people who prefer to buy organic or local food, where money really isn’t as much of an issue to them.” 

All consumers should have a choice, Simmons says. Lifestyle buyers have their choice, but so should the vast majority of consumers who want affordable food — and technology helps make that happen.

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Barbara Corson    
Dauphin Pa  |  December, 12, 2011 at 08:58 AM

Technology got us into this mess and i don't think it can get us out. Actually, I doubt if we can feed, clothe, and house 9 billion people no matter what methods we use. The only answer I see is a combination of voluntary family planning AND local food .

Martha Delaney    
Chicago  |  December, 12, 2011 at 10:31 AM

Well stated Barbara...I whole-heartedly agree. Population control must be considered and at least part of the discussion as it seems to be ignored.

Elisa Johnson    
WA  |  December, 12, 2011 at 11:32 AM

A plant based diet is much more sustainable than feeding animals just to eat them (and drink their secretions before killing them). Technology is not the answer. Plant foods can feed many many more people than animals foods can.

Dr. Kevin Hill    
Utah  |  December, 12, 2011 at 12:56 PM

The solutions to world food production will require technology, local food production where possible, and most of all, political structure that will encourage production and distribution to those who need it most. Mr. Simmons argument would carry more weight if he acknowledges that technology is not the complete answer. Making food more affordable will not feed those who cannot get the food they can afford, or cannot food at any cost. We are already producing enough food daily to feed that billion hungry people. We simply cannot get it to them for a variety of reasons.

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