Securing future food supplies

Date : 05 November 2013

For many decades, world food supply outpaced demand. Food became cheaper in real terms and food companies could concentrate on the short term, confident that supply would always be available.

A combination of factors have undermined this position including dietary shifts in the developing world, climate change, rising oil prices, water shortages, soil erosion and problems in the banking system. Food security is high on the agenda again and in many countries, food inflation has been outpacing incomes.

Although various reports on food security have offered advice to governments, ultimately it is businesses: farmers, manufacturers, distributors, retailers and caterers that need to keep food flowing to consumers.      

For companies, supply can no longer be taken for granted and planning ahead is essential. This guide is designed to help companies identify risks, anticipate and prepare for possible disruptions to their supply routes and maintain deliveries to consumers. 

To produce it, we have pooled the expertise of IGD’s specialists on supply chain, economics and sustainability, informed by our broad network of company experts.

Each of the 19 sections provides:

  • An outline of a food security issue
  • A view on the risks faced by companies
  • A brief history of development to date (October 2013)
  • Recommendations for companies on how to manage the risks
  • Suggestions on what companies can do to act responsibly
  • Sources for further reading

Non-food companies share many of the same risks and various sections here will also be relevant to them.

We welcome your feedback. Any suggestions on ways to enhance the practicality of this guide are gratefully received.  

Complete our one minute feedback survey


  1. Global consumption
  2. Food waste
  3. Food affordability
  4. Climate change
  5. Flooding
  6. Water supply
  7. Energy
  8. Land use and soil degradation
  9. Fraud and sabotage
  10. Financial system failure
  11. Business failures
  12. Speculation
  13. Barriers to technology
  14. Trade barriers
  15. Skills gaps
  16. Animal disease
  17. Bee and other pollinators
  18. Fisheries
  19. Fertiliser supply