To meet the needs of a growing global population, food production will need to increase by 70 percent by 2050. Yet current methods of food production, distribution and consumption are unsustainable. The food system accounts for almost one-third of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, 50 percent of the U.S. land use and 80 percent of freshwater use. Business opportunities related to shifting the food system to a more sustainable development pathway could be worth over $2.3T annually for the private sector by 2030 with the investment required to achieve these opportunities at approximately $320B per year.
Through interviews and input from over 25 industry experts in the food and agriculture space, we found that consumers are demanding more sustainable land management practices, better efficiency and greater transparency around the food they are buying. And they are driving dramatic change toward more sustainable food systems. New business models in sustainable land management, aquaculture, alternative proteins and cold-chain technologies are poised to generate substantial financial returns while acting as catalysts of change addressing social or environmental problems within the food system.