Food Consumption 2: Production

In the last section we discussed perspectives on protein intake and the quality of the sources, now we'll look at the overall food production as it currently stands in the world.

Our current worldwide food production has us over 2,750 kCal each day which is beyond the amount needed to feed the world's population.  This data does take into account waste which stands at 20% for each household in the United States. Therefore current projections show that we have about 2,200 kCal available for each person at current agricultural levels.3

Differing Standards

One of the biggest road blocks around the world is the standard of what is a healthy balanced diet. There are many areas of the world that believe in multiple servings of whole grains, dairy and sugar. This leads to the current situation where we are producing more grains, fats, and sugar sources while simultaneously not producing enough fruits and vegetables. 

If we adopted greater standards of intake for vegetables and fruits, we would be able to positively impact:

  • Improved health thereby reducing health care cost
  • Decreasing land usage for monocultures
  • Reduce oil production, particularly important in ecological impact of palm oil consumption. 
  • Lower sugar production and sugar related products. 

One thing is clear, if we continue at the rate we are going at, we will not have enough land to support our standards of intake.4 This will necessitate people begin to not only change their dietary habits in quality of choice but also reducing their patterns of over consumption. 


Reducing waste and improving usage of land. This talk brings to the forefront the idea that we need not think about how can we clear more land or produce more food, rather how can we do more with what we have and improve the standards for all people.

Changing the way we eat. This talk by Mark Bittman goes a long way to really highlight the inequity in our diets from developed countries to impoverished nations. The western diet is quickly be disseminated across the globe to have a surplus of fast food and conventional feed lot style animal production. With it comes a plethora of disease and infrastructure problems.

Think About While Watching:

If you adopted a diet that lowered the overall volume of food, how would the quality of your food choices change? 

Do you shop locally from farmers markets or order from a CSA?
One problem some have these programs are they don't know how to cook the produce included or in season. Do you believe this is a problem? How does it contribute negatively to the food production in the world?

1  Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). FAOSTAT: Food Supply—Livestock and Fish Primary Equivalent, 2016. accessed June 2016.

2 Gustavsson J, Cederberg C, Sonesson U, van Otterdijk R, Meybeck A. Global food losses and food waste—extent, causes and prevention. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). 2011: [Ref list]

3 U.S. Department of Agriculture. Estimated Calorie Needs per Day by Age, Gender, and Physical Activity Level. (2017). Accessed July 2017 [Ref list]

4 Kc KB, Dias GM, Veeramani A, et al. When too much isn't enough; Does current food production meet global nutritional needs?. PLoS One. 2018;13(10):e0205683. Published 2018 Oct 23. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0205683

Last modified: Wednesday, 6 May 2020, 18:25