switzerlanden
The future of our food

The future of our food

09-04-2021 | Graph of the week
In the past 50 years, how our food is produced and consumed has changed drastically. The focus of this change has been on increasing crop yields and improving production. And that has contributed to improving global life expectancy and reducing hunger, child mortality, and poverty. These advantages have, however, been accompanied by devastating environmental damage, a direct consequence of non-sustainable agricultural practices. And because our meals have become more calorific, they have led to a series of health problems ranging from obesity to heart conditions.
  • Sylvia van Waveren
    Sylvia
    van Waveren
    Engagement Specialist

Better eating habits are vital

According to the World Health Organization, the number of overweight and obese people has tripled since 1975. Current estimates are that no fewer than 1.9 billion adults are overweight, of which 659 million suffer from obesity. This equates, respectively, to 39% and 13% of all adults worldwide. Annually 11 million deaths are linked to diet-related risks, which is roughly 20% of deaths worldwide. Poor diets are therefore responsible for more deaths than smoking, according to the UN’s Global Burden of Disease Study.

The economic cost of unhealthy eating habits is also high. In 2014, McKinsey estimated the global economic impact of obesity to be USD 2 billion – or 2.8% of global GDP. This corresponds, more or less, to the impact of smoking, wars or other firearm-related violence. Obesity increases healthcare spending and therefore leads to loss of productivity, which damages economies.

As a result of the growing awareness, consumers are increasingly spending money on healthier and more nutritional food. Governments in turn are stimulating the food industry by pushing them in a healthier direction – sometimes through regulations, sometimes by providing subsidies.

Graph of the week
If a picture is worth 1,000 words, a chart can say it all. Our Graph of the Week gives the top picks from the Robeco Investment Solutions team.
Graph of the week
Overview

Sustainability is becoming increasingly important

Alongside healthy eating, sustainability is becoming an increasingly important factor for consumers in their food purchases. During a discussion with a global food giant, the management pointed out that 20% of consumers are willing to pay more for products with a sustainable image. And for no less than 60% of consumers, sustainability is a consideration in their purchase decisions.

And, indeed, the environmental impact should not be underestimated, as is evident from the graph below: around 26% of all greenhouse gases can be attributed to our food system. Agriculture is responsible for 78% of ocean and freshwater pollution. And half of the world's habitable land is used for agriculture. The conversion of natural ecosystems and habits into agricultural land is the leading cause of loss of biodiversity and species extinction. In short, global food production is damaging the stability of the climate and the resilience of ecosystems.

Source: Robeco Trends Investing, March 2021, Sam Brasser

Healthy and sustainable food is a win-win-win

The consumer shift towards healthier and more sustainably produced food offers investors attractive investment opportunities. Companies that sell sustainably produced food are well positioned to benefit from this development. Think, for example, of plant-based food, seafood from sustainable aquaculture or concepts to reduce food waste such as meal kits. But also of providers of attractive digital business models; for example in the area of restaurant software. Food products in these segments are becoming increasingly relevant for consumers and have excellent growth opportunities.

I am convinced that changing our eating habits could be our most powerful tool in optimizing human health and restoring the stability of the natural world on this planet. Transforming eating habits, improving food production and reducing food waste will create a win-win-win situation for our health, our ecological sustainability and our economy.

Subjects related to this article are:
Logo

Disclaimer Robeco Switzerland Ltd.

The information contained on these pages is for marketing purposes and solely intended for Qualified Investors in accordance with the Swiss Collective Investment Schemes Act of 23 June 2006 (“CISA”) domiciled in Switzerland, Professional Clients in accordance with Annex II of the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive II (“MiFID II”) domiciled in the European Union und European Economic Area with a license to distribute / promote financial instruments in such capacity or herewith requesting respective information on products and services in their capacity as Professional Clients. 

The Funds are domiciled in Luxembourg and The Netherlands. ACOLIN Fund Services AG, postal address: Affolternstrasse 56, 8050 Zürich, acts as the Swiss representative of the Fund(s). UBS Switzerland AG, Bahnhofstrasse 45, 8001 Zurich, postal address: Europastrasse 2, P.O. Box, CH-8152 Opfikon, acts as the Swiss paying agent. The prospectus, the Key Investor Information Documents (KIIDs), the articles of association, the annual and semi-annual reports of the Fund(s) may be obtained, on simple request and free of charge, at the office of the Swiss representative ACOLIN Fund Services AG. The prospectuses are also available via the website www.robeco.ch. Some funds about which information is shown on these pages may fall outside the scope of the Swiss Collective Investment Schemes Act of 26 June 2006 (“CISA”) and therefore do not (need to) have a license from or registration with the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA). 

Some funds about which information is shown on this website may not be available in your domicile country. Please check the registration status in your respective domicile country. To view the RobecoSwitzerland Ltd. products that are registered/available in your country, please go to the respective Fund Selector, which can be found on this website and select your country of domicile. 

Neither information nor any opinion expressed on this website constitutes a solicitation, an offer or a recommendation to buy, sell or dispose of any investment, to engage in any other transaction or to provide any investment advice or service. An investment in a Robeco Switzerland Ltd. product should only be made after reading the related legal documents such as management regulations, prospectuses, annual and semi-annual reports. 

By clicking “I agree” you confirm that you/the company you represent falls under one of the above-mentioned categories of addressees and that you have read, understood and accept the terms of use for this website.

I Disagree