Danone: How will we feed 9bn people?

Yves Rey of Danone France says the industry must unite to tackle food safety and security concerns.

A Danone France leader says providing a growing planet with a safe, sufficient food supply down the road is a challenge the industry must meet now.

Yves Rey, corporate quality general manager for Danone France and outgoing chair of the Global Food Safety Initiative, told FoodProductionDaily that the security of the world's food supply is a cause that industry professionals should--and do--rally around.

We come together for one simple cause, united around one common goal—safe food for consumers everywhere,” he said.

Stretched resources

Rey said the strain on the earth’s resources—water, food, and other crucial commodities—will only get heavier in coming decades. He pointed out that the global population is now at 7bn people; that number is expected to top 9bn by 2050.

That growth is already leading to important changes that are impacting the food supply of the future,” Rey said. “The big question is: How are we going to feed those 9bn people?

The food supply (in addition to being sufficient to feed all the hungry mouths on the planet) must be safe, Rey told FPD. While much progress has been made in preventing illness from foodborne pathogens, more has to be done—an estimated 1.8m people around the world were fatally stricken by food-based diseases.

Rey said food safety and security involves more than simply filling bellies and preventing foodborne illness.

Safe food is a fundamental requirement for public health,” he said. “It’s also important for profitability, sustainability, global economies, and social stability.”

Food supply dynamics

Further complicating the challenge is a global food supply more diverse and dynamic than ever before, Rey added.

Food moves rapidly around the world, across continents and countries, to get to consumers,” he said.

The complexity and diversity of the global food supply has led to food products that are themselves highly complex, Rey said. For example, a single pizza can contain dozens of disparate ingredients sourced from dozens of different countries.

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