The growing popularity of biofuels could lead to world food shortages, chief scientific adviser Professor John Beddington has warned.

Speaking at a sustainability conference in London yesterday, Professor Beddington said: “It's very hard to imaging how we can see the world growing enough crops to produce renewable energy and at the same time meet the enormous demand for food.”

Food supply was struggling to keep up, he warned: “Demand for food has grown enormously, particularly in China and India where much of the driving force is increased demand,” he said.

“By 2030 energy demand is going to be up by 50% and demand for food is going to be up by 50%.”