Food companies unprepared for global water crisis

Global food prices, which have been rising since 2012, may be ready for another hike.

In a report released Thursday, Ceres, a sustainable business consortium based in Boston, found that most food companies aren’t prepared to deal with the water risks that it expects will lead to higher water and food prices.

“We are coming to an end of cheap, plentiful water. Most of the food companies assume that water will remain cheap, and for investors that assumption is dangerous in terms of the companies’ long term profitability,” said Brooke Barton, the report’s co-author and director of the Ceres water program.

“We feel that most companies are not addressing these risks adequately.”

Water is a major ingredient in food, from bacon to pizza: growing crops and raising animals account for about 70% of the world’s water use, according to the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization.

It takes 15,415 liters of water to produce a kilogram of beef, according to the Water Footprint Network, a Netherlands nonprofit that consults on water management and policy. A kilogram of pasta requires 1,850 liters of water.

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