The assertion came in his keynote speech to the Institute of Food Science & Technology spring conference at the John Innes Centre in Norwich last week.
He told the conference that sustainable intensification of food production is a necessary response to this. "Producing as efficiently as possible on the smallest footprint of land capable of meeting demand for food is both the 'greenest' and usually the most profitable way to farm," he said.
Citing the fact that equivalent crop production in 2009 required only 35 per cent of the land needed in 1961, he said "land sparing" is a key component of sustainability.
But Crute called for the short-term costs, as well as the long-term benefits, of sustainable production to be shared, saying: "Reconciling the need for food security with the environmental consequences of agriculture poses a challenge that can only be resolved through a shared food chain responsibility, in addition to continuing investment in science and innovation."