Just over a year ago, Ahold Delhaize joined a coalition of international retailers, food manufacturers and non-governmental organizations to accelerate progress toward the sustainable production and consumption of protein. A report published last month by the coalition – which was convened by the nonprofit group Forum for the Future – is now calling on retailers and food service companies to support the sustainable production of animal feed.
Titled "The Feed Behind Our Food," the report highlights the rapid growth of animal feed production in the food industry and its significant impacts on environmental health and food security. Indeed, nearly half of global agricultural land is used for livestock feed production and more than a fifth of wild caught fish is fed to animals. Further, feed contributes to 45% of greenhouse gas emissions from livestock production, and much of it comprises high-value foods rich in nutrition, including soy and maize.
“It will be very challenging to meet the future demands for livestock and farmed fish products in sustainable ways without transforming the way we produce animal feed," said Sandra Vijn, a director of the Food Program for the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). "Food and feed companies alike need to recognize the risks and opportunities this presents to their businesses and work together to achieve this transformation. This report serves as a guide for how they can begin to do that."
Ahold Delhaize, for example, has a target in place for 2020 that requires 100% of its high priority (South American) soy volumes in the supply chain of own-brand products to be certified against an acceptable standard. In addition, in 2017 Ahold Delhaize joined 22 other leading retailers and food companies to endorse a letter of support for the Cerrado Manifesto, a global pledge to work toward halting forest loss associated with soybean production and cattle expansion in the Cerrado, a vast tropical savanna in Brazil.
"The Feed Behind Our Food" was developed as part of the Protein Challenge 2040 coalition, which aims to tackle a key question: How do we feed 9 billion people enough protein in a way that’s affordable, healthy and good for the environment? Member organizations include Ahold Delhaize and other retailers such as Target and Waitrose, feed ingredient companies Evonik and Volac, and food manufacturers Firmenich, Hershey, Nestle and Quorn.
You can download the report here.