All Proteins Needed To Cover Predicted Population Growth

Amid the fight over real and fake meats is a reality that it probably will take animal and plant protein to feed a growing world population, said Oklahoma State University Agricultural Economist Derrell Peel in a letter to Extension agents called Cow/Calf Corner.

Three conferences he attended last week included a widely discussed trend of global population growth and the challenges of food availability, Peel said.  Global population was projected to increase to more than 9.5 billion people from the current 7.7 billion by 2050 and to exceed 11 billion before the end of the century.




One presenter said that while current attention is on growing Asian populations, Asia likely will peak in the next two decades, Peel said.  Population growth in Africa, which is just beginning to grow rapidly, was projected to dominate in the last half of the century.

As important as population growth is, perhaps more so for meat industries, is economic growth and the growing middle class, Peel said.  Globally, the middle class was projected to expand to 4.9 billion from two billion by 2030.

China alone was projected to add 850 million middle class consumers by 2030, he said.  It is well documented that meat consumption increases as growing incomes support better quality diets and increased protein consumption.




Two different presentations by speakers from the US Federal Reserve said the US currently is experiencing a very long period of relatively weak economic growth, Peel said.  Presenters said the shrinking US labor force was contributing to this slow growth rate.

As the US population ages, fewer labor force entrants are available to replace those leaving, he said.  Further, productivity growth likely will not be sufficient to offset the declining labor force.

Other presentations reported on the historically important role of immigrants in food and agricultural industries and the growing need for low- to medium-skilled employees to support all aspects of agricultural and food production, he said.




The growing reality of the effect of African Swine Fever was another common topic in these conferences, Peel said.  The rapidly changing dynamics of this disease suggest the effects are global in nature and likely will affect global protein markets for years or decades.

It appears that swine and pork losses in China, Vietnam, North and South Korea and the Philippines, along with other outbreaks of ASF in Europe and Africa are creating a protein deficit that cannot be filled by all proteins in the world.

Various presenters said some in the meat and plant-based protein markets view each other as competitors battling to replace the other, he said.  There was also recognition that the markets may be complementary, not only to offer more protein choices to consumers, but also that it likely will take both to feed the world through the rest of the century.




Cash cattle changed hands last week at $108 to $109 per cwt, up $1 to $2 from the previous week, while dressed-basis trading was at $172, up $2.

The USDA choice cutout Monday was up $1.56 per cwt at $217.22, while select was up $0.65 at $189.33.  The choice/select spread widened to $27.89 from $26.98 with 61 loads of fabricated product sold into the spot market.

No cattle were posted Monday for delivery against the Oct contract.

The CME Feeder Cattle index for the seven days ended Friday was $144.26 per cwt, up $0.63 from the previous day.  This compares with Monday’s Oct contract settlement of $145.55, up $1.45.