National Food Strategy calls for an overhaul of the food system

The National Food Strategy contains recommendations to address the major issues facing the food system and includes a call for every local authority to put in place a food strategy in partnership with the communities they serve.
15/07/2021

National Food Strategy

National Food Strategy

The National Food Strategy report is the first comprehensive review of the food system in 75 years and sets out how our diets will need to change over the next decade to meet the Government’s existing targets on health, climate and nature. By 2032, fruit and vegetable consumption will have to increase by 30%, and fibre consumption by 50%, while consumption of food high in saturated fat, salt and sugar will have to go down by 25%, and meat consumption should reduce by 30%.

 

It calls for recommendations to address climate change, biodiversity loss, land use, diet-related disease, health inequality, food security and trade and has grouped them under four main objectives:

  1. Escape the junk food cycle to protect the NHS.
  2. Reduce diet-related inequality.
  3. Make the best use of our land.
  4. Create a long-term shift in our food culture.

 

Among other recommendations, it calls for:

  • The introduction of a sugar and salt reformulation tax and use of some of the revenue to help get fresh fruit and vegetables to low-income families.

 

  •  Launch a new ‘Eat and Learn’ initiative for schools including a doubling of the budget for the School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme.

 

  • Extend eligibility for Free School Meals and expand the Healthy Start scheme.

 

  • Trial a ‘Community Eatwell’ programme, supporting those on low incomes to improve their diets including fruit and veg on prescription.

 

  • A £1bn innovation fund to improve the food system.

 

  • Guarantee the budget for agricultural payments until at least 2029 to help farmers transition to more sustainable land use.

 

  • Food standards to be protected in any new trade deals.

 

  • Stronger government food procurement for healthy, sustainable food.

 

 

Tom Andrews, SFP Programme Director said:

“As was so clearly demonstrated during Covid, food partnerships are vital in coordinating local responses to food-related crises, whether that is the immediate crisis of food poverty and insecurity or the longer-term climate and nature crisis. We welcome the recommendation for a Good Food Bill that includes a requirement for Local Authorities to develop a food strategy in partnership with their communities. This will help to drive and support local governance for sustainable food systems and foster partnership working to ensure that healthy and sustainable food becomes a defining characteristic of every community. We urge the Government to ensure every place in the UK has a food partnership and to give them the tools and support they need to transform their local food system.”

 

Sofia Parente, SFP Campaigns and Policy Coordinator said:

“The evidence is clear that healthy, nutritious food is essential to give children the best possible chance to learn and achieve. During the pandemic, the Government has extended additional support to children eligible for Free School Meals and increased the value of Healthy Start vouchers but has failed to act increase eligibility for these nutritional safety nets. We welcome the NFS recommendation to do so alongside a ‘Eat and Learn’ initiative for schools including a doubling of the budget for the School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme and call on the Government to act without further delay.”

 

The full report is available from the National Food Strategy website. 


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