Food supplies are being threatened not only by population growth but by the demand for animal protein inspired by rising affluence. This demand is now a major claimant on scarce supplies of both grains and feed-stock proteins. The latter are on the whole exported from poor to rich countries, where they are converted into animal protein providing one tenth to one fifth of the food protein value at a higher price.
The gap between supplies of animal protein and the effective demand in developing countries was an estimated 3.6 million tons in 1984. Even when the supply of protein foods in a particular region appears to be satisfactory (20% above the average national requirements, for example), it is unevenly distributed and certain vulnerable groups go short.