Feedback responds to the National Food Strategy

15th Jul 21 by Jessica Sinclair Taylor, Head of Policy

The National Food Strategy marks a historic opportunity for transformation - will the government listen?

Commenting on the publication of the National Food Strategy which aims to set out a plan for a healthier and more climate and nature friendly food system, Carina Millstone, Executive Director of environmental Charity Feedback said:

“After a pandemic which has exposed the shameful extent of food inequality in the UK, and as alarm grows over unchecked destruction of nature, this Strategy shows us that a vibrant, productive, sustainable food system is within our reach, but that Big Food’s business as usual – on sugar, on meat and on waste – cannot continue.”

On the Strategy’s plans to address sugar consumption through a sugar tax on manufacturers:

“Addressing the UK’s dangerously high sugar consumption means going beyond the strategy’s strong proposals for a sugar tax to address what this means for English sugar beet production, and especially the corporate monopoly of British Sugar, which produces enough sugar every year to exceed the entire population’s recommended allowance by two thirds – and in the process uses roughly the same area of land to grow sugar beet as we do all other veg crops combined.”

On food waste:

“The Strategy glosses over the vast amounts of food wasted on farms every year, which leaves farmers to suffer lost income in silence, and inflicts untold damage on our climate and nature. Backing mandatory reporting on food waste for all big food businesses is one thing, but the history of food waste action in this country shows we need targets, not just transparency, particularly to tackle the hidden blight of food waste on farms.”

On supermarkets fuelling demand for meat:

“The National Food Strategy’s strong target for meat reduction is the right move in response to the overwhelming science on meat production, nature and the climate. Crucially, it also points out that some of the most powerful players – supermarkets – must play a central role in this change. To make this a reality, supermarkets must stop actively fuelling demand for meat through misleading labelling, and promotions, as well as listening to the 50% of the public who think supermarkets should set a target to sell less meat.”

On better support for food access:

“The Strategy is right to focus on how government can help create good green jobs in farming, and make it easier for people in every income bracket to eat a healthy, fresh and sustainable diet. But more healthy start vouchers won’t work if there’s nowhere to buy fresh, healthy food in your area: seeding local and regional food economies through access to funding and training, and helping civil society get beyond the food bank model is vital.”

Further response out tomorrow.

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