We bridge the food gap

About supply and demand

Various social developments and trends have a major impact on the entire food chain. These driving forces influence both food consumption as well as food supply. In the near future we are heading for an imminent food gap: a situation where food supply and demand are in an imbalance. Microalgae promise to play a crucial role in bridging this food gap.

Availability of food

The global population continues to grow. Demand for food will rise significantly as a result. And the consumption of animal products is increasing due to rising prosperity. Total demand for plant-based food and feed is expected to exceed the bounds of feasibility within the near future.

In addition, the growing scarcity of fresh water and minerals threatens the global production of primary products. Available farmland and agricultural yields are under threat due to accelerating climate effects, leading to unstable global production volumes. As a consequence, governments and businesses spurred by political and economic concerns are attempting to secure available resources, which inevitably increases the pressure on the availability of food. The solution? New, sustainable, efficient methods of food production.

Changing dietary patterns

Food choices and eating habits have changed dramatically in recent decades, due in part to rising prosperity and changes in supply. As a result of globalisation and economies of scale, the vast majority of products on offer are now (usually unintentionally) processed and impoverished resulting in a rise of health risks.

These health risks are exacerbated by overconsumption, for example of high-calorie products. The effects on people’s health have become visible: think of the global surge in chronic diet-related diseases such as obesity and type 2 diabetes. Globalisation has caused shifts in the food supply worldwide, and economies of scale have prompted changes in the composition of products. Today’s foods contain fewer fatty acids, antioxidants and minerals. Mass culture has impoverished the nutrient profile. The solution: a change of diet, incorporating a wide range of macro- and micronutrients.

 

Supplying microalgae

Coming from a biomedical and biotechnological background, Erwin Houtzager, the initiator behind Phycom, first turned his attention to the consequences of food shortages and changing dietary patterns in 2008. He then launched an initiative to strengthen both the availability and quality of food for animal and men – with the introduction of microalgae as a serious food source.

Microalgae grow very rapidly and contain a wide range of essential nutrients, including both macro- and micronutrients. Provided they are cultivated using the right technology, algae are among the most sustainable and nutritious food crops. The cultivation of microalgae requires very little water and land. There is little to no loss of minerals and the energy requirements are minimal. Unlike most crops, algae can be wholly consumed, so there is virtually no food loss. In a nutshell, microalgae promise to bridge the food gap.

More about Phycom

Erwin Houtzager, Founder of Phycom

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