Changing demand for food, livestock feed and biofuels in the past and in the near future

Sanderine Nonhebel, Th. Kastner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Population growth and increased welfare are not only important drivers for meat consumption, they also affect energy consumption. In the past energy supply and food supply hardly interfered with one another, but through the increasing use of biomass as an energy source both systems become intertwined. This paper addresses developments in the demand for food, livestock feed and energy. We first analyze historical trends and then develop a simple model for assessing global biomass needs in the near future. We distinguish between developing countries, transition countries and developed countries. While the first group of countries will mainly need extra food for their growing population, the second group will mainly require extra animal feed, since increased average income levels lead to higher demand for animal products. Many developed countries will need additional biomass to meet their clean energy targets, aimed at reducing CO2 emissions of energy use. Our analysis shows that the future extra needs for biomass as fuel are in the same order of magnitude as the needs for food and feed (around 1000 MT each). This huge demand for biomass from the energy system is likely to cause large instabilities in the global agricultural markets.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-10
JournalLivestock Science
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • energy


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