World Economic Forum Article Calls For ‘Reinventing’ The Global Food System, Praises ‘Animal-Free’ Products
PUSZTAMAROT, HUNGARY - JULY 07: A tractor plows the ground at the end of wheat harvesting on July 7, 2022 in Pusztamarot, Hungary. Hungary recently banned grain exports amid surging global wheat prices, caused by Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Russia and Ukraine are among the world's two largest wheat exporters.
Janos Kummer/Getty Images

The World Economic Forum (WEF) published an article on Thursday calling for a “reinvention” of the global food supply and praising “alternative proteins” made by “animal-free” products.

The WEF is an international advocacy organization founded by Klaus Schwab that seeks to bring world leaders together “to shape global, regional and industry agendas.” The organization has been criticized in the past for publishing an article encouraging people to eat bugs to “reduce climate change.”

In Thursday’s article, titled “Feeding the future: why Renovation and Reinvention are key to saving our food system,” WEF New Frontiers of Nutrition Project Fellow Juliana Weltman Glezer laments the greenhouse gas emissions caused by food production and warns of a 60% increase in food demand when the worldwide population hits 10 billion.

“Many of the ways we grow, manufacture and consume food are causing a dual crisis of human and environmental health, and the complexity will only intensify,” Glezer wrote.

“The food transition aims to reshape the way society produces, distributes, consumes and discards food – a transformation that will impact the mutual advancement of human and environmental health,” the article added.

The article then compared an overhaul of the food system to the global transition to renewable energy, such as solar and wind power and electric vehicles.

“The food transition involves a similarly comprehensive transformation, with two different stages of change: Renovation and Reinvention,” Glezer wrote. “While Renovation makes incremental improvements across the food value chain, Reinvention aims for systemic change: the fully scaled reorientation of food production in a way that alters the underlying structures within the modern food industry.”

In the article, the author puts forward a two-step plan to reshape the global food supply: “Renovate recipes and packages” and “Reinvent the system.” The first step calls for the “immediate reduction of more harmful ingredients and components in our food, including excessive levels of salt, sugar, fat and additives.” Glezer writes the world can “mitigate adverse effects on pubic health” by reformulating nutrition.

“Renovation could also mean adding probiotics to an existing product to improve microbiome health,” the article adds.


In the second step, “reinventing the system,” the WEF writer praises companies such as Nestlé that have developed “animal-free protein powder.” Nestlé said in 2022 that its “animal-free” product is made through fermentation and “is identical to the whey protein found in cow’s milk.”

“And they are not alone,” the author writes. “According to GFI, 158 companies have publicly announced a primary focus on fermentation for alternative proteins in 2023, an increase of 16% from the year prior.”

The article also suggests that AI could be used to help people create diets “unique to an individual’s genetic make-up, lifestyle factors and health goals” and help reduce “the overall environmental impact of food production and disposal.”

“The food transition is a pivotal moment in human history, demanding bold action across sectors, industries and disciplines. There is no singular approach to transformation, but it is critical that the food industry rebalance their approach to innovation with significantly more investment put towards Reinvention,” Glezer concludes. “By prioritizing strategies that reinvent, alongside renovation, we can chart a course toward a more resilient, equitable and sustainable food system for generations to come.”

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