Government’s food security paper ‘misses the mark’

By Rod Addy

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Food Food security

Government’s food security paper ‘misses the mark’
The government’s Food 2030 paper addressing food security issues does not go far enough in its forecasting, according to the Food and Drink...

The government’s Food 2030​ paper addressing food security issues does not go far enough in its forecasting, according to the Food and Drink Federation (FDF).

“We need a genuine long-term vision and strategy for farming and food production,” said Andrew Kuyk, FDF director of sustainability and competitiveness. “One that is designed to ensure the nation’s food security against the combined effects of climate change, higher global demand and increasing pressure on finite resources. The published food security assessment looks only at the next five to 10 years, which is not sufficient to reflect the longer term risks we already know are out there.”

Food manufacturers would be crucial to the development of any such longer term strategy, said Kuyk. He said the food industry was already working to tackle important areas such as healthy eating through reformulation and eco-friendly use of resources, steered by the FDF’s Five-fold Environmental Ambition.
However, he continued: “It’s time we started turning the debate into action. Given that it is now a year since the Cabinet Office published its Food Matters​ report [exploring food security and sustainability], we would urge government to accelerate its efforts to work with manufacturers and food chain partners to develop a food vision and strategy that takes full account of our economic, strategic and social importance to the UK.”
Overall, though, Kuyk welcomed Food 2030​, issued by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. “It’s great that the government is waking up to the importance of these debates,” he said. “Along with our food chain partners, we have been pressing ministers for some time to make sustainable food production a top government priority in its own right - so the publication of Food 2030​ is a step in the right direction.”
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) said retailers were already working with customers and suppliers to improve what they were offering, how they offered it and how it was produced. However, it said the government needed to work more closely with food retailers and manufacturers to achieve its aims in the area of food security and sustainability.
“Today’s government paper admits that a number of projects identified a year ago in Food Matters​ will not deliver in time,” said BRC food policy director Andrew Opie. “What we need is a joined up policy with government agreeing what it wants from food across all its departments and agencies.”
Food 2030​ was part of a package published today. The package included draft indicators for the sustainability of the food system; the UK’s first Food Security Assessment; and Food Matters: One Year On​, which provides an update on progress of the 2008 Food Matters​ Cabinet Office report.
Presenting the package, Environment, Food and Rural Affairs secretary Hilary Benn said any future food strategy would have to meet three major challenges. They were: the economic and environmental challenges of increased productivity in the food chain; how to give people access to safe, healthy and affordable food; and how to ensure current food production wasn’t detrimental to the natural resources on which future food production depended.
“We need a radical rethink of how we produce and consume our food,” said Benn.