The quantity of crops grown around the world could feed the global population, but only if people start dropping meat and dairy from their diet alongside other changes. This information has been publicized in a new study conducted by researchers from Lancaster University.

The paper titled ‘Current global food production is sufficient to meet human nutritional needs in 2050 provided there is radical societal adaptation’, identifies the need for the population to change their diet in order to feed the global population.

In an abstract from the study, it reads: “The current production of crops is sufficient to provide enough food for the projected global population of 9.7 billion in 2050, although very significant changes to the socio-economic conditions of many (ensuring access to global food supply) and radical changes to the dietary choices of most (replacing most meat and dairy with plant-based alternatives, and greater acceptance of human-edible crops currently fed to animals, especially maize, as directly-consumed human food) would be required.

“Under all scenarios, the scope for biofuel production is limited. Our analysis finds no nutritional case for feeding human-edible crops to animals, which reduces calorie and protein supplies. If society continues on a ‘business-as-usual’ dietary trajectory, a 119 per cent increase in edible crops grown will be required by 2050.”

We’re familiar with environmental concerns being one of the main reasons people switch to a plant-based diet. The consideration that a vegan diet could help feed the global population is something isn’t often heavily advertised.

The study noted that four main changes need be made, which must not have detrimental environmental effects. This includes sufficient food supply in both quality and quantity, providing necessary nutrition to all, and consumers making informed choices about eating a “healthy and environmentally sustainable diet.”

Animal agriculture

In the conclusion, the researchers talk about animal agriculture and how in some countries, eating animal products is a necessity for those who do not have access to a diverse range of food, whether this be down to physical, financial or cultural reasons.

It continues to say: “However, overall, industrialised meat and dairy production, which currently relies on 34 per cent of human-edible crop calories to animals globally, is highly inefficient in terms of the provision of human nutrition, since it reduces the energy, protein, iron and zinc supplies potentially available to humans from crops, and is incompatible with a sustainable global food system as currently conceived.”

Although the number of people taking on a vegan diet is constantly increasing, the message needs to be instilled in people. The realities of animal agriculture remain unknown to many; however, the damaging effects are becoming widely spread. The power of social media has been aiding this increased uptake on veganism, alongside streaming platforms such as Netflix.

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