15 July 2021
Food Foundation Welcomes 'Bold and Exciting' National Food Strategy
Youth Consultation Report, Podcasts and Film released
- The Food Foundation welcomes new National Food Strategy saying it is a ‘bold and exciting vision’ which sets out a strong set of recommendations
- It is strongest opportunity yet for Government to intervene and re-shape the food system to protect the health of our citizens and our planet
- The Food Foundation releases Youth Report, podcasts and film as part of the Citizens Engagement for the National Food Strategy
Food Foundation Statement of Support for National Food Strategy
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. We are pleased 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.
Quote from Laura Sandys CBE, Chair of Food Foundation
“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. The strategy, having highlighted the problem and developed the solutions, now needs to be acted upon, and we will be continuing our campaigning for system change.”
The National Food Strategy is poised to tackle many of the issues highlighted in the recent Broken Plate Report which laid out 10 metrics that illustrated the crisis our current food system faces.
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
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About the Food Foundation
The Food Foundation is a charity working to influence food policy and business practice, shaping a sustainable food system which makes healthy diets affordable and accessible for all people and improve lives. We work in partnership with researchers, campaigners, community bodies, industry, investors, government and citizens to galvanise the UK’s diverse agents of change, using surprising and inventive ideas to drive fundamental shifts in our food system. These efforts are based on the continual re-evaluation of opportunities for action, building and synthesising strong evidence, convening powerful coalitions, harnessing citizens’ voices and delivering impactful communications.
Registered Charity Number 1187611
About the National Food Strategy
Henry Dimbleby, Defra’s lead Non-Executive Director, has led an Independent Review to develop recommendations to shape a National Food Strategy. The Strategy addresses the challenges of supporting people to eat healthy diets, producing food sustainably and protecting national food security, whilst also looking at related issues such as the price of food and trade. It is a root and branch examination of the food system, the economics that shape it, and present a vision of the food system. It contains a diagnosis and recommendations for actions to reorient the food system to be healthier for ourselves and the planet. The Government has committed to responding to the Review’s recommendations in the form of a White Paper within 6 months.