Water shortage could soak food firms

By Jenni Spinner

- Last updated on GMT

Global water shortages could have a far-reaching impact on the food industry.
Global water shortages could have a far-reaching impact on the food industry.
Global water shortages could create significant problems for the food industry in the all-too-near future.

In the latest issue of The Food Journal​, authors advise that water conservation efforts aren’t stepped up, food firms could face major headaches in years to come.

Impact factors

Water supplies are threatened by a number of directions, including drought, pollution, access and quality. According to editor Phil Lempert, the situation should have food processing professionals at alert.

Everyone in the food business also is in the water business as water scarcity affects the entire food chain​," he said.

Water is as important as feed and a lack of water can lead to an increase in corn, wheat and soy prices, which in turn raises the prices of chicken, pork and beef,​” he reported.

Lempert added that the water problem doesn’t just affect developing countries. Now and going forward, conservation efforts in America, Europe and other regions need to step up, he said.

Good news

There is good news, according to the authors. Conservation efforts have lowered the amount of water expended per pound of beef by 14%, and per gallon of milk by 65%, from 1977 to 2007.

Also, saving water is in the sights of corporations, such as Kellogg Co. The CPG giant’s chief sustainability officer, Diane Holdorf, said all of the firm’s plants have water efficiency goals.

We are engaged in efforts to understand current growing practices and providing support for more sustainable long-term solutions​,” she said.

Related topics: Processing & Packaging

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