With adverse weather causing crop failures, grain prices are going up. At least in the short term. This now only increases the price of such things as bread, it also affects the cost of animal feed with costs being passed on to the eventual meat eater of milk drinker.
For example, according to the Telegraph, the Chicago exchange traded frozen pork bellies market has increased by 243% in the last eight months or so.
OK so the US consumes more BLT (bacon, lettuce and tomato) sarnies at this time of year, but they are still record prices.
But looking further ahead there are more serious factors that will affect the price of meat. A semi-apocalyptic report in the Guardian has the prospect of humans eating artificial meat grown in vats by the year 2050.
With 9 billion people expected to populate the planet by then it is expected that many will go undernourished unless urgent action is taken now to provide for future food needs. Like there’s no hordes of starving people already.
The Royal Society has published a set of 21 papers on the subject. One of their conclusions is that there is little more land available for agriculture but that with better use of the available land could see a 50% improvement in crop production by 2050.
One thing to note is that one of the beneficial agents identified in the report is the increased carbon dioxide in the air from global warming. It promotes plant growth. What would we do if there was a global plan to eradicate it?
The other major concern is water with one estimate being that we will use twice as much water to feed everyone by 2050 than we do now.
Most of the solutions hinge on traditional methods of farming, but Dr Philip Thornton of the Livestock Research Institute in Nairobi suggested that one ‘wild card’ way of feeding the world would be ‘growing’ meat in vats.
Now call me a traditionalist but I’m used to good old fashioned meat from a plastic wrapper in the supermarket.
With food set to become possibly more scarce and expensive how on earth is the oversized westerner meant to keep their obesity levels up. Unless of course more ‘other people’ starve to death in the process. But there’s a price to everything.