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Global Challenges

The global economic, social and environmental changes are impacting the sustainability of the food and agriculture industry.

Nutrition, people wellbeing, climate change and food waste are the issues that Barilla must face

Many social and environmental challenges have an impact on Barilla, particularly regarding issues like nutrition and people wellbeing, climate change and food waste.

Nutrition and people wellbeing

To stop global hunger, guaranteeing food safety and improving people nutritional habits are three key pillars of sustainable development. Today, undernutrition, lack of nutrients and obesity are the three main forms of malnourishment impacting the lives of millions people across the world1.

At global level, the last few years have seen an increasing trend for undernutrition, which concerns for nearly 815 million people, that is almost 11% of the world population.

On the side, overweight and obesity levels in the world are increasing, following the increased consumption of hypercaloric foods with high levels of fats, salt and added sugars. As a consequence, in the United States and Europe, key markets for Barilla, nearly 60% of people are overweight and 30% are obese. The situation is better in Italy where, also thanks to the popularity of eating habits inspired by the Mediterranean Diet, less than 15% of the adult population is obese, even though child obesity and overweight levels are increasing.






Climate Change

Agricultural production and food processing are two primary sources of greenhouse gas emissions. Indeed, recent research estimates that the agro-food industry accounts for 30% of energy consumed globally, and produces nearly 20% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions1





In Europe, over a quarter of energy consumption is due to food production and processing, while in the United States agricultural production is estimated to contribute with 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions, reaching over 600 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent2, 3

There are, however, significant differences among different types of food production: for example, a dish of pasta - from wheat cultivation to cooking - generates 1,013 grams of CO2 per kilo of product, a meat-based dish has 20 times the environmental impact. The agricultural stage is where most of the emissions are concentrated1.

Consumers' food choices can influence the entire agro-food industry, shifting the food processing industry, and hence agriculture, towards raw materials with a lower environmental impact.

The use of land and water resources for food production also generate significant impacts on climate. It is estimated that to date, agricultural lands occupy nearly 38% of the earth surface, with strong implications for the conservation of natural habitats, and that agriculture accounts for 70% of world water intake, which in many areas results in water stress4.

1 FAO, The future of food and agriculture: Trends and challenges 

2 European Commission, Energy use in the EU food sector: State of play and opportunities for improvement - 2015

3 EPA, Sources of Greenhouse Gas Emissions

4 Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition, Doppia Piramide 2016

Food waste

In the world, every year, almost a third of global food production is wasted, nearly 1.3 billion tonnes. Most food waste happens during consumption: both at home and in the restaurant business. A significant portion of food loss takes place during raw material cultivation, harvest, storage and processing, mainly because of inefficiencies and inadequate agricultural practices and old-fashioned conservation and processing methods. 


Food waste North America


Food waste Europe

Food loss also means wasting natural resources and labor used for its production. Consider that, according to recent studies, 10% of global electricity consumption goes to produce food that is eventually wasted.

1 FAO, The future of food and agriculture: Trends and challenges 

2 World resource institute, SDG Target 12.3 on food loss and waste: 2017 progress report