Food industry warned ‘the crunch is coming’

By Michael Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Public health Food Nutrition Milk

Food and drink manufacturers face “a big crunch”, as the consequences of the public health and environmental damage associated with the over production of meat and dairy foods begins to bite.

Over reliance on meat and dairy products – fuelled by too many cereal crops – was a structural mix that was bad for eco-systems and disastrous for public health, Tim Lang, professor of food policy at City University London, told the Fengrain conference last week in Peterbrough.

“People around the world are beginning to eat like us and people in the west are eating themselves to death,”​ said the former government adviser.

‘Approaching Victorian levels’

The diets of poor UK consumers were becoming progressively worse – with life in expectancy in some inner city areas like Glasgow “now approaching Victorian levels”.

The solution was to massively boost consumption of plant-based foods, he said. “Grains have their place. Animals have their place. But we have allowed both to completely distort land use.”

Re-balancing the food industry would help to protect the environment and signficantly improve public health, he claimed.

Meanwhile, Lang also advised arable farmers attending the conference to ditch cereals​ in favour of horticultural crops.

In our next video interview, Julian Wild, head of the food group with law firm Rollits, explained why the horsemeat crisis should have surprised no one.

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