Food Foundation response to National Food Strategy

The Food Foundation welcomes new National Food Strategy saying it is a ‘bold and exciting vision’ which sets out a strong set of recommendations.

Today’s new National Food Strategy presents a bold and exciting plan for the UK food system. It makes a crystal-clear case for the need for Government intervention, explaining why it would be near-impossible for citizens to make the necessary changes to their diets on their own.

It's good to see strong recommendations on sugar and salt taxes to help encourage reformulation, mandatory business reporting, action on children’s food insecurity, increasing access to fruit and vegetables, and strengthening food system governance.

The Government now has a once in a lifetime opportunity to take the report’s recommendations seriously, and to pivot the food system to protect human and planetary health.

A partial, piecemeal, or watered-down response from the Government would demonstrate a fundamental lack of recognition of the extent of the crisis which the food system now finds itself facing. Let’s hope the government gives the report the attention, and action, it deserves.

Laura Sandys CBE, Chair of the Food Foundation said: “We really welcome the strategy that is both very comprehensive and clear in its recommendations to Government.

"As the Food Foundation has said from its inception the challenges cannot be solved with piece meal one off initiatives but require deep systemic change. This whole system change is very well represented throughout the strategy.

"We were very pleased that our Executive Director, Anna Taylor OBE was able to contribute so fully, working with Henry Dimbleby and the team over the last few years on. The strategy, having highlighted the problem and developed the solutions, now need to be acted upon and we will be continuing our campaigning for system change.”

Youth Report

As part of the citizen engagement the Food Foundation carried out consultations with young people around England exploring the issues that young people care about.

426 young people came together in 24 workshops at 15 secondary schools and 9 youth groups to discuss food in relation to their health, the environment and affordability.

A final national workshop was held online, bringing together 22 of the most engaged young people from the first round of workshops. Guests included Henry Dimbleby, members of the National Food Strategy team at Defra, Members of Parliament, and a representative from a major supermarket.

The priorities that emerged from the young people were:

Education – There was a strong call for more education about the food system and its impact on our health and the planet to be included in the curriculum and more teaching with cooking skills and nutrition being a priority from an early age. They also called for more advertising of healthy foods and clearer consumer information

Action from policy makers, Government and Businesses to transform the food system through legislation and business practices to include greener agricultural policies, shifts in consumer diets, greener packaging and promotion of locally sourced food.

Affordability – Call for everyone to have access to an affordable healthy and sustainable diet and for food poverty to be a priority. Focus should be on investing in healthy food businesses, support for low income households and systematic change to remove wealth inequality

Download the Youth Report here.