Here's some food for thought: as the world population continues to grow, the global food supply may not meet future hunger demands, according to a new study.

Since the 1960s, the global population increased by about one billion people every 12 to 14 years. With this many more hungry mouths to feed, researchers from the University of Virginia worry that food resources may not be able to keep up. Agriculturally poor countries in arid to semi-arid regions, like Africa's Sahel, are particularly vulnerable, according to researchers, since they already depend on imports for much of their food supply.

The new study, published in the journal Earth's Future, examines global food security and the patterns of food trade that, until now, hadn't been studied in-depth.

"We found that, in the period between 1986 and 2009, the amount of food that is traded has more than doubled and the global food network has become 50 percent more interconnected," lead author Paolo D'Odorico said in a statement. "International food trade now accounts for 23 percent of global food production, much of that production moving from agriculturally rich countries to poorer ones."

While it would seem that this kind of increased global trade would lead to improved access to food in areas like the Middle East, it in fact has not eradicated food insufficiency in sub-Saharan Africa and central Asia.

"Overall, in the last two decades there has been an increase in the number of trade-dependent countries that reach sufficiency through their reliance on trade," D'Odorico explained. "Those countries may become more vulnerable in periods of food shortage."

D'Odorico and his team found that 13 agricultural products - including wheat, soybean, palm oil, maize and sugars - make up a whopping 80 percent of the world's diet and food trade. And it seems demand for these types of foods is only going to rise. So as populations grow and climate change brings currently unforeseeable changes to growing conditions, it's possible that the global food supply may not meet future demand.

The world is more interconnected than ever, and the world food supply increasingly depends on this connection," D'Odorico concluded.