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From population to production : 50 years of scientific literature on how to feed the world

Tamburino, Lucia ; Bravo, Giangiacomo ; Clough, Yann LU and Nicholas, Kimberly A. LU (2020) In Global Food Security 24.
Abstract

How to feed the world is a vigorously debated question, but the extent to which possible solutions receive attention in the scientific literature has not been studied. Using textual analysis, we analyse 12,640 research articles to quantify how this discourse evolved over the last 50 years, distinguishing between a focus on three potential levers: total food production, per capita food demand, and population. We find a strong and increasing focus on feeding the world through increasing food production via technology, while the focus on reducing food demand through less intensive dietary patterns has remained constant and low. Population has declined from being the dominant lever discussed in 1969 to the least researched in 2018. Our... (More)

How to feed the world is a vigorously debated question, but the extent to which possible solutions receive attention in the scientific literature has not been studied. Using textual analysis, we analyse 12,640 research articles to quantify how this discourse evolved over the last 50 years, distinguishing between a focus on three potential levers: total food production, per capita food demand, and population. We find a strong and increasing focus on feeding the world through increasing food production via technology, while the focus on reducing food demand through less intensive dietary patterns has remained constant and low. Population has declined from being the dominant lever discussed in 1969 to the least researched in 2018. Our results suggest that very few studies address all three levers in an integrated way, which may be constraining the solution space for feeding the world and meeting other Sustainable Development Goals.

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organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Diet, Food demand, Food security, Food supply, Population, Productivity, Textual analysis
in
Global Food Security
volume
24
article number
100346
publisher
Elsevier
external identifiers
  • scopus:85076865842
ISSN
2211-9124
DOI
10.1016/j.gfs.2019.100346
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
d97250c7-36ec-4f29-bed2-55f6f1a684e1
date added to LUP
2020-01-02 12:50:32
date last changed
2021-01-19 04:27:32
@article{d97250c7-36ec-4f29-bed2-55f6f1a684e1,
  abstract     = {<p>How to feed the world is a vigorously debated question, but the extent to which possible solutions receive attention in the scientific literature has not been studied. Using textual analysis, we analyse 12,640 research articles to quantify how this discourse evolved over the last 50 years, distinguishing between a focus on three potential levers: total food production, per capita food demand, and population. We find a strong and increasing focus on feeding the world through increasing food production via technology, while the focus on reducing food demand through less intensive dietary patterns has remained constant and low. Population has declined from being the dominant lever discussed in 1969 to the least researched in 2018. Our results suggest that very few studies address all three levers in an integrated way, which may be constraining the solution space for feeding the world and meeting other Sustainable Development Goals.</p>},
  author       = {Tamburino, Lucia and Bravo, Giangiacomo and Clough, Yann and Nicholas, Kimberly A.},
  issn         = {2211-9124},
  language     = {eng},
  publisher    = {Elsevier},
  series       = {Global Food Security},
  title        = {From population to production : 50 years of scientific literature on how to feed the world},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gfs.2019.100346},
  doi          = {10.1016/j.gfs.2019.100346},
  volume       = {24},
  year         = {2020},
}