The homogenisation and globalisation of diets

One Billion Hungry: Can We Feed the World?

ID-10083665 The UN Food and Agriculture Organization has estimated that some 75% of the diversity of cultivated crops was lost during the 20th Century and, by 2050, we could lose a third of current diversity.

A recent study by Khoury et al in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, investigated how the composition of crops contributing to human diets has changed over the past 50 years. As suspected by many, diets across the world are becoming more homogenised or more similar with greater reliance on only a handful of crops, notably wheat, rice, potatoes and sugar (energy-dense foods). Wheat is now a major food in 97% of countries. Local and traditional crops, important regionally, such as millet, rye, yams and cassava (many of which are nutrient-dense) are being produced and consumed less. Although the amount of calories, protein and fat we consume has increased…

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