Nick Allen, chief executive at the British Meat Processors Association
“Our Christmas wish has one dominant theme: Clarity, which has been in short supply recently.
“Whether it’s future food policy, land use framework, labour shortages or food security and sustainability, we’ve had several announcements and motherhood statements from Government ministers but precious little detail. This lack of clarity is hampering our members’ ability to forward plan and make investment commitments.
“At the root of this is a fundamental lack of understanding from Government policy makers of how the food supply chain works and the complex web of interdependent moving parts that make it run smoothly. This lack of understanding is down to Government not working closely enough with industry, and it leads directly to ill thought-through policy decisions and serious unintended consequences that cost businesses more in overheads, stoke food price inflation and impact our ability to trade.
“Our wish for 2024 is for Government to work much more collaboratively with industry (as happens in other countries) on trade deals, workforce issues and food policy. Businesses are on the front line and can deliver on the country’s aspirations. But our politicians need to have a realistic handle on what can and can’t be achieved and work together with business.”
Louisa Clutterbuck, chief executive of Eat Wild.
“At Eat Wild, our objective remains the same; introduce as many new people to game as possible and in turn grow the market and return the value back to this healthy and sustainable, British meat. In 2024, we hope to engage with some of the UK’s largest contract caterers, with hundreds of millions of turnover between them who cover nearly every major public event and establishment.
“When thinking about supermarkets, there is work to be done with Tesco and Asda as the final supermarkets that are not yet selling game, opening up the most accessible way for people to try game – by finding it on their local supermarket shelves.
“To further aid promotion of game, we also want to work with The British Nutrition Foundation to promote the fantastic health benefits it has to offer.”
Tony Goodger, Association of Independent Meat Suppliers membership communications
“In the coming year we are likely to see a general election and whilst I expect to see ‘Food Security’ feature in the manifestos of the political parties I would also like to see them take a stance on security in the food manufacturing industry.
“Within my sector farms and processing businesses have for many years been the subject of the attention of activist bullies pursuing a single agenda of trying to make this country’s diet fully plant based.
“Too often we have seen them gain access to farms with little or no adherence to biosecurity and the welfare of the animals on site. They then use the footage they have filmed to discredit businesses with the multiple retailers often before their target has even been made aware of the site incursion.
“They then take their action either covertly into processing businesses or overtly to the processing sites where they attempt to block vehicles and try to disrupt production. Regrettably I expect that climate activists will now join the animal rights protests to link climate change into an overall disruptive message.
“For this reason, it should be now a criminal offence for anyone to intentionally disrupt the food supply chain here in the UK.”