Food and Well-being
Food has always had a major influence on daily life. Production and consumption of food is central to any society. Buying, preparing and eating food are considered important social practices and sometimes even markers of social identity. It is this everyday custom that gives food science its significance, contributing to the creation of a multidisciplinary science.
At the heart of any food-related matter, the EU sees the consumer as the key stakeholder in the whole food/feed chain.
This is why the EU supports quality and safety in food products, with the Seventh Research Framework Programme (FP7) reflecting new perspectives on food, health and general well-being.
Food research looks into maintaining an affordable, safe, healthy and nutritious food supply in the face of changing demographics: a growing world population and increasing urbanisation. At the heart of any food-related matter, the EU sees the consumer as the key stakeholder in the whole food/feed chain.
Food demand is expected to increase by 70% before 2050 and many of today's food production systems already compromise the capacity of the planet to produce sufficient future food supplies. Meat consumption, for example, in both the developed and developing world, is projected to double from the 229 million tonnes produced worldwide in 1999/2001 to 465 million tonnes in 2050. In the future, livestock production will increasingly be affected by competition for natural resources particularly land and water, by the need to reduce fossil energy dependency and environmental impact, and by societal concerns concerning animal welfare. Developments in breeding, nutrition, and animal health will contribute to increasing potential production and further efficiency and genetic gains. In this respect the tools of molecular genetics are likely to have considerable impact, in particular marker assisted selection for traits that are difficult to measure, such as meat quality and disease resistance. The availability of increasingly annotated genome sequences of most livestock species and the decreasing price for sequencing offer unprecedented opportunities for advances in evolutionary biology, animal breeding and animal models for human diseases.