Technology’s role in food?

This is Part 1 of 3 of “Making safe, affordable and abundant food a global reality”, Jeff Simmons and Dr. Chris Ashworth from Elanco. Read more at

I’ve had the opportunity to hear a message about food insecurity and using technology in food twice in the last 2 weeks, and this is so timely for this Thanksgiving season when everyone is thinking about – and consuming – food.

What is technology’s role in food in the 21st century? How do we make safe, affordable and abundant food a global reality?

These are both questions that Jeff Simmons and Dr. Chris Ashworth, from Elanco, recently addressed. Other people in the world want safe, affordable and abundant food and we have it here in America!
What does it come down to with providing food for our growing global population? Technology and choice. We {farmers and food producers} have to double food production by 2050 – meaning we’ll need 100% more food. And 70% of that has to come from efficiency-enhancing technology.
When you hear technology, what do you think of? For most people, when it comes to their phones, cars, kitchen appliances and household items – technology is a pretty great thing! So why are people concerned when it comes to technology in their food?

Technology is defined by Simmons as:
1. Practices – doing it better.
2. Products – using new, innovative tools and technologies.
3. Genetics – to enhance desired traits in plants and animals.

plentytothinkabout.orgwp-contentuploads201103Three-Rights-White-Paper-Revised.pdf - Google Chrome 11212012 15423 PM.bmpIn a world without food technology  – organic – we see a a small amount of food being raised. As a percentage of all food sales, organic foods grown without certain technologies represents less than 2% of worldwide sales. Even in industrialized regions such as Europe and the U.S., more than 97% of food budgets are pent on products grown using technology – a percentage projected to change very little by 2014. In 2009, 3% of the food produced in the US was organic. Projected for 2014, 4% will be organic.

But consumers have a choice. A validation study completed for this project called the International Consumer Attitudes Study. This study showed the factors influencing food purchase decisions and you know what? Taste, Cost and Nutrition were the most important factors in food purchasing decisions. That’s a pretty powerful message to our farmers who want and will continue producing food using technology to meet the consumer demands of taste, nutrition and cost.

Technology enables three rights: food, choice, sustainability. I will address that in my Part 2 blog.
In Part 3 – look forward to Jeff’s analysis of how we can solve world hunger, one egg at a time.

That gives you plenty to think about. Check out and watch their video as well.

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