To help meet demand from the world's growing population, it is claimed that food production must double by 2050. While increasing demand may be offset by changes in consumer behaviour and the drive to reduce waste, it remains undeniable that food production must increase dramatically. And that means increasing pressure on existing infrastructure as well as the opportunity to develop new, more efficient facilities.
Four years after the publication of Defra's UK Food Security Assessment, a new inquiry into UK food security is underway. Launched by the cross-party EFRA committee of MPs in October, it will examine key issues such as using resources more efficiently as well as the relationship between the price of food and the cost of producing it.
These are both issues which extend beyond agricultural practices or the use of GM technology for instance. Energy efficiency - the use of natural resources - and operating costs are at the heart of the drive for increased operating efficiency as well as profitability, for every food manufacturing, processing and distribution business.
With a wealth of experience in this arena, Chalcroft is well placed to help meet this challenge in the coming years. It will require a long term approach from all involved but as was noted in our white paper, Turning Food Green, the interest in sustainability is often relegated when faced with the perceived high cost of green building.
Close scrutiny of capital expenditure, combined with an approach that typically seeks to provide return on investment within two to three years - too soon for some sustainable design options to generate the requisite return - is currently causing investors to discount measures such as combined heat and power (CHP).
It will be interesting then, to see the results of this latest inquiry into UK food security as well as its recommendations - what is certain is that there will be a role for us all in what is undoubtedly one of the great challenges of our time.