As the world struggles to feed hundreds of millions of people enough calories and nutrients to maintain their health, researchers in Finland examined what would happen if more food grown for animal consumption went to humans. Diverting grain and other feed for livestock to human consumption could boost food supply sufficiently to feed an additional billion people, and the study identified readily available alternatives that are only edible for animals. This is an example of an innovative initiatve working to shift the global food system to align with nature targets and be more sustainable.
Report Abstract: Many livestock and aquaculture feeds compete for resources with food production. Increasing the use of food system by-products and residues as feed could reduce this competition. This study gathered data on global food system material flows for crop, livestock and aquaculture production, focusing on feed use and the availability of by-products and residues, and analysed the potential of replacing food-competing feedstuff—here cereals, whole fish, vegetable oils and pulses that account for 15% of total feed use—with food system by-products and residues. Considering the nutritional requirements of food-producing animals, including farmed aquatic species, this replacement could increase the current global food supply by up to 13% (10–16%) in terms of kcal and 15% (12–19%) in terms of protein content. Increasing the use of food system by-products as feed has considerable potential, particularly when combined with other measures, in the much-needed transition towards circular food systems.