Figures you probably know

  1. Food is a $7.8 trillion industry, responsible for feeding the planet and employing well over 40% of the global population.
  2. The world’s population is currently increasing by 80 million each year and is expected to reach 9 billion by the year 2050. The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has predicted that 70% more food must be produced globally by 2050 to meet the increase in demand.
  3. From 2020 till 2050, the African population will nearly double (reaching 2.5bio people), 3.5x Europe.
  4. Global temperatures have increased 1 degree since pre-industrial era (for us, this is as if human average temperature was up to 38.7 degrees)
  5. The global food sector is currently responsible for around 30% of the world’s energy consumption and contributes more than 20% of the global greenhouse gas emissions
  6. 70% of world’s freshwater is dedicated to agriculture
  7. Urbanisation and rising income means that more of the world is converging towards European and American levels of meat consumption, which is roughly 100kg a year (80kg in Britain, 120kg in America)
  8. More than 200 million animals are killed for food around the world every day – just on land. That comes out to 72 billion land animals killed for food around the world every year.
  9. The number of vegans in the U.S. has increased six-fold in the last three years, and more than tripled in the U.K. over the past decade.
  10. Globally, cattle meat production has more than doubled since 1961 – increasing from 28 million tonnes per year to 68 million tonnes in 2014.
  11. Efficiency in livestock varies hugely. Chickens and pigs convert grain into meat at rates of two or three to one (ie, it takes 2kg of feed to produce 1kg of chicken). The ratio for lamb is between four and over six to one and that for beef starts at five to one and goes as high as 20 to one. Around 30 percent of ice-free land is used for livestock feed production.
  12. It takes the equivalent of 8 litres of gasoline to produce 1kg of grain-fed beef in the United States. Some of the energy was used in the feedlot, or in transportation and cold storage, but most of it went to fertilizing the feed grain used to grow the modern steer or cow…. To provide the yearly average beef consumption of an American family of four requires over 984 litres of fossil fuel.
  13. Global fish production* reached approx. 171 million tonnes in 2016, with aquaculture representing 47 percent of the total.
  14. 22% of wild fish catch is used to feed farmed fish. Overfishing is considered the largest pressure on marine fisheries. An estimated 31.5 percent of fish stocks are classified as overfished.
  15. Aquaculture market was valued at US$176.45 billion in 2017 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 4.46% to reach a market size of US$219.42 billion by the year 2022
  16. Five crops – rice, wheat, maize, millet and sorghum – provide about half of human food-energy needs
  17. If gene-edited seeds were adopted by 60-100 million farms by 2030, there could be 100–400 million tonnes more crops produced and 5–20 million fewer tonnes of production lost annually. Farmers’ incomes would grow by $40–100 billion
  18. Global annual net loss of natural forests decreased from some 10.6 million hectares in the 1990s to 6.5 million hectares between 2010 and 2015 (as a comparison; France accounts for roughly 18.5Mio arable hectares)
  19. 20% of Chinese arable land is contaminated
  20. 30% of food produced ends-up wasted. Globally we produce 2.1bio tons of waste annually. Approximately 40% is food related and of the grand total 30% ends-up in landfills.

Figures worth considering

  1. The pace of innovation has not kept up with other industries and today agriculture remains the least digitized of all major industries, according to McKinsey.
  2. Since 1961 the population has been multiplied by 2.4. In the same period, cereal yields have tripled, milk production doubled (700Mio tons today), meat production was multiplied by 6 (300Mio tons today) and wild fish catch more than doubled from 40Mio tons.
  3. The Nigerian population is expected to exceed 400Mio by 2050 while the US population will only be of 440Mio
  4. Roughly 45% – 50% of CO2 emissions are linked to the production of electricity and heating. China is the biggest emitter of CO2 accounting for roughly 25% of total. CO2 emissions are additive (CO2 concentration has now passed the 400ppm level, the highest level in 800’000 years).
  5. Several initiatives exist to remove CO2 from the atmosphere, for instance the Terraton Initiative wants “to remove 1 trillion tons of it and bring the concentration back to pre-Industrial Revolution levels”
  6. The number of people fed per hectare planted between 1961 and 2020 has gone from 2.3 to 5.6
  7. 80% of applied pesticides penetrates directly into the soil
  8. 12 million hectares of land are lost every year to desertification and drought alone. This is an area that could produce 20 million tons of grain. Desertification and land degradation cause USD 42 billion in lost earnings each year
  9. According to recent data around 7% of arable land in EU is estimated to suffer from moderate to high erosion. This equates to an area of 140 373 km² (more than entire surface area of Greece)
  10. Meat is an inefficient source of calories. It accounts for 17% of global calorific intake, but uses twice that amount of land, water and feed.
  11. EU/EEA countries used on average 141 mg of antibiotics per kg of livestock, ~3x higher than what experts consider as a reasonable short-term target.
  12. 70% of Brazil’s deforested land is used as pasture, with feed crop cultivation occupying much of the remainder
  13. Moving away from meat and dairy consumption would release 3.1 billion hectares of farmland
  14. Today’s average fruit and vegetable has 15% less nutrients than in the 50’s
  15. Pollinators affect 35 percent of the world’s total crop production by volume, supporting the production of 87 of the leading food crops worldwide.
  16. Cotton is the most widespread profitable non-food crop in the world. Its production provides income for more than 250 million people worldwide and employs almost 7% of all labor in developing countries. Approximately half of all textiles are made of cotton. The global average water footprint for 1kg of cotton is 10,000 litres
  17. Omega 3: 80% of the world’s production of scutched flax fibers (linen) are originated from Europe, and France is the world leader. Flax is a rare product which represents less than 1% of all textile fibers consumed worldwide – Flax has nearly twice as much Omega 3 than Salmon. Bombyx Mori (silkworm) powder is 36% rich in fatty acids.
  18. From 2015 to 2017, a group of 51 countries provided approximately $570 billion annually in public support to agricultural producers (source OECD). Fishing subsidies are estimated to be as high as $35 billion worldwide, of which $20 billion directly contributes to overfishing
  19. EU producers are highly dependent on public support (e.g. direct payments, rural development). Taking all subsidies into account, total public support in agricultural income reached 38% of agricultural income on average in the EU.
  20. Less than 2 percent of private equity deal flow is in food and agriculture, and very little of that is in the upstream value chain