In the coming decade, low- and middle-income countries will be the main sources of food demand for basic commodities. USDA predicts developing countries will account for 80% or more of the increase in global demand for meat, grains, oilseeds and cotton. These regions have young and growing populations and incomes that are on the rise.
Two regions that hold dramatic food demand growth potential are Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Their young populations will continue to move up the protein chain as their incomes increase.
“China has been the big story, but they are going to drop behind other regions,” says David Widmar, an agricultural economics and co-founder of Agricultural Economic Insights. “The story of food demand in the past was population growth, but now we’re moving into an income era.”
India's Population Changes: 2017 - 2050
Sub-Saharan Africa's Population Changes: 2017 - 2050
Historically, global food demand growth was driven by population growth. Over the next decade, the annual world population growth will be just 1%, per USDA.
As a result, income will be the driver of future food demand growth, Widmar says. “It is important to recognize demand is growing at a different rate. You need to think about how your business model can take advantage of this trend,” he says.
Sources: USDA, Population Pyramid, Hertel & Baldos: Population and Income as Drivers of Global Change