USGC releases study on future of food, ag in East Asia

by World Grain Staff
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TOKYO, JAPAN — The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) joined with the U.S. embassy in Japan to present a groundbreaking new study, Food 2040, at a major public briefing in Tokyo jointly sponsored by the embassy and Keidanren, a major Japanese business federation, on April 19.

An in-depth report on the future of food and agriculture in East Asia, Food 2040 anticipates that rising demand, especially from China, will significantly restructure the global food industry.

"Food 2040 outlines important new opportunities for producers and agribusinesses," said USGC President and Chief Executive Officer Tom Dorr. "But seizing these opportunities requires that we be ready to meet the challenges ahead."

Food 2040 projects that in Japan as much as 70% of food expenditures will be for foods prepared outside the home, and that other Asian markets are likely to follow Japan's lead; food will become increasingly a service, not a commodity. Asian consumers will demand greater food safety based on new systems for testing, reporting and transparency that may present major challenges to legacy producers and agribusinesses.

At the same time, Asian consumers will demand increasing quality and much wider consumer choice. Driven by rising demand and resource constraints, East Asia is likely to emerge a as a bioscience leader. The emerging Asian diet is also likely to be healthier, as traditional Asian perspectives on nutrition converge with 21st century science and technology to address problems of aging and diseases of affluence.

"These changes will be consumer-driven," Dorr said. "The emerging Asian markets will be very large, affluent, and sophisticated. It is up to us — producers and agribusiness in the U.S. — to position ourselves to meet this rising demand. The consumer is king."

Food 2040 was commissioned by the U.S. Grains Council in collaboration with USDA/Foreign Agricultural Service. The text of the report is available on the council's webpage at http://www.grains.org/

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