What caught our eye - three key stories (week 10, 2024)
Sustainability. Strategy. Finance.

What caught our eye - three key stories (week 10, 2024)

Obesity increasing, green fertiliser (or not), and the dawn of an industrial heat pump age ?

Here are three stories that we found particularly interesting this week and why. We also give our lateral thought on each one.

The combined burden of underweight and obesity has risen in most countries. Ironically in a world where many people are starving, obesity is becoming a massive health challenge. The good news, helping to fix this is a material opportunity for the food industry.

Fertiliser is going green, or is it? Nitrogen based fertiliser is made from ammonia, which is a big producer of CO2 (per tonne of production). And so news that some ammonia production is getting greener is good news, yes ? Well it depends.

Are we about to witness the dawn of the industrial heat pump age, at least in Europe? It's going to be slow, but heat pumps can already meet c. 11% of Europe's industrial heat pump demand, and a further 26% looks like it could be in reach. But, one of the big barriers is the cost of electricity - so take a bow the Nordics, where their electricity is cheapest relative to gas.

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The combined burden of underweight and obesity has risen in most countries

In 2022, over a billion people globally were living with obesity with 160 million of them aged 5-19.

A study published in The Lancet used data from 3663 population-based studies that measured the height and weight in representative samples of the general population between 1990 and 2022. There were 222 million participants spanning all age groups and covering 200 countries and territories.

They found that over that timescale the combined burden of underweight and obesity had increased in most countries driven by an increase in obesity. Whilst the proportion of adults classed as underweight had fallen by 50%, it still remains a real problem, particularly in poorer communities in south Asia and parts of Africa.

(NCD Risk Factor Collaboration (NCD-RisC). Worldwide trends in underweight and obesity from 1990 to 2022: a pooled analysis of 3663 population representative studies with 222 million children, adolescents, and adults. Lancet 2024; Appendix Figure 3. Change in age-standardised prevalence of underweight and obesity, for adults. CC BY 4.0)

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