The Friends of the Earth have published a report on a study of various ways in which the world’s projected population of 9.16 billion in 2050 could be fed. The key finding was that feeding the world in 2050 is possible without the most intensive forms of animal and crop production and without a massive expansion of agricultural land.
The study focused on four possible dietary scenarios:
- Western High Meat – assuming that there is a global adoption of the current Western diet with an average intake of 3,000 kcal per day per person and with 44% of protein from animal products;
- Current Trend – assuming that current trends continue, calorie intake would increase to 2,700 kcal in the poorest regions and 3,600 kcal in the wealthiest regions but the world average would still be 3,000 kcal per person per day;
- Less Meat – assuming that the current trends of calorie intake continues but with 30% coming from animal protein everywhere;
- Fair Less Meat – providing the recommended healthy diet of 2,800 kcal per day with 20% from animal protein to everyone in the world.
The study found that providing a Western High Meat diet to 9.16 million people is "probably feasible" but only with intensive farming methods replacing subsistence farming and massive land use change.
Providing the Current Trend diet is feasible but would require either the adoption of intensive farming or massive land use change.
Providing the Less Meat diet is feasible using humane (free range) farming and without massive land use change.
Providing the Fair Less Meat diet is highly feasible with humane, or possibly even organic, farming mathods. There is already 20% more crop land than would be needed.
The study points out that the Fair Less Meat diet would not only provide good nutrition for those who have insufficient food (currently about a billion people) but would tackle the problem of obesity (also currently about a billion people).