OUTLOOK IN FOCUS: Feeding 9 billion requires protein

Published on: Nov 12, 2013
Kemin CEO Chris Nelson speaks to attendees at the World Food Prizes Borlaugh Dialogue Oct. 23 in Des Moines, Iowa.
Kemin CEO Chris Nelson speaks to attendees at the World Food Prize's Borlaugh Dialogue Oct. 23 in Des Moines, Iowa.

FOR decades, simple caloric availability was the standard measuring stick for gauging global food security. In recent years, entities such as the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization have changed how they measure food security, recognizing that available calories is not the best measure of adequate nutrition, particularly for growing children.

“Chronic malnutrition comes from protein deficiency,” said Chris Nelson, CEO of Kemin Industries, a global molecular health and nutrition company based in Des Moines, Iowa.

Speaking at the World Food Prize organization’s Borlaug Dialogue last month, Nelson discussed how countries can hope to sustainably feed the 9 billion people estimated to populate the planet by the year 2050. Flanked by panelists from China and India, Nelson and other speakers concluded that utilizing animal protein is critical in solving the nutrition puzzle in a sustainable and economical manner.

“Of the 2,000 calories we need per day, our bodies require 52 grams of protein as well as 240 mg of lysine, 80 mg of methionine and many other essential nutrients,” Nelson said. “While vegetable proteins can provide many of these if consumed in sufficient quantities, animal protein sources are essential, particularly in growing children.”

Listen to Kemin CEO Dr. Chris Nelson discuss the reasons why protein is so vital for the development of healthy children, as well as the overarching sustainability of producing animal proteins, in a special Outlook edition of the Feedstuffs In Focus podcast. The Nov. 11 edition features Feedstuffs’ annual special Outlook report and the podcast will focus on a different piece of the outlook puzzle each day this week. Monday’s edition featured U.S. Meat Export Federation CEO Philip Seng and his organization’s forecast for 2014 U.S. beef and pork exports.