Global Hunger and the Inefficiency of Eating Meat

The world population (currently 7.1 billion people) is expected to increase by more than 35% by 2050.  The earth’s natural resources, like land to grow food on and fresh water, are not.  The current statistics on world hunger are staggering; the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that one out of every eight people is undernourished…how will we feed 9.6 billion in 2050 if we can’t feed 7.1 billion in 2014?

The problem of world hunger is incredibly complex but many sources are starting to cite excessive meat consumption as a contributing factor.  Raising animals for food is incredibly inefficient.  Animals that are raised for food require significant amounts of feed and water, yet they provide very small quantities of meat, milk, and eggs in return.  It takes up to 13 pounds of grain and 2,400 gallons of water to produce one pound of meat.  Obviously, eating plant-based foods (rather than feeding them to animals) makes more food available to humans, but it also saves water; it only takes 25 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of wheat.

There are, of course, other barriers to distributing food to those in need.  Reducing U.S. meat consumption doesn’t guarantee that hungry people will suddenly have access to more food, but continuing to consume meat at the current rate is unsustainable and it does guarantee a future increase in global hunger.

Check out these figures and decide for yourself: can you give up some meat and help slow the spread of global hunger?


Screen Shot 2014-03-18 at 11.43.00 PM