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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.

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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.

重要事項

当資料は情報提供を目的として、Robeco Institutional Asset Management B.V.が作成した英文資料、もしくはその英文資料をロベコ・ジャパン株式会社が翻訳したものです。資料中の個別の金融商品の売買の勧誘や推奨等を目的とするものではありません。記載された情報は十分信頼できるものであると考えておりますが、その正確性、完全性を保証するものではありません。意見や見通しはあくまで作成日における弊社の判断に基づくものであり、今後予告なしに変更されることがあります。運用状況、市場動向、意見等は、過去の一時点あるいは過去の一定期間についてのものであり、過去の実績は将来の運用成果を保証または示唆するものではありません。また、記載された投資方針・戦略等は全ての投資家の皆様に適合するとは限りません。当資料は法律、税務、会計面での助言の提供を意図するものではありません。

ご契約に際しては、必要に応じ専門家にご相談の上、最終的なご判断はお客様ご自身でなさるようお願い致します。

運用を行う資産の評価額は、組入有価証券等の価格、金融市場の相場や金利等の変動、及び組入有価証券の発行体の財務状況による信用力等の影響を受けて変動します。また、外貨建資産に投資する場合は為替変動の影響も受けます。運用によって生じた損益は、全て投資家の皆様に帰属します。したがって投資元本や一定の運用成果が保証されているものではなく、投資元本を上回る損失を被ることがあります。弊社が行う金融商品取引業に係る手数料または報酬は、締結される契約の種類や契約資産額により異なるため、当資料において記載せず別途ご提示させて頂く場合があります。具体的な手数料または報酬の金額・計算方法につきましては弊社担当者へお問合せください。

当資料及び記載されている情報、商品に関する権利は弊社に帰属します。したがって、弊社の書面による同意なくしてその全部もしくは一部を複製またはその他の方法で配布することはご遠慮ください。

商号等: ロベコ・ジャパン株式会社  金融商品取引業者 関東財務局長(金商)第2780号

加入協会: 一般社団法人 日本投資顧問業協会

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