‘Food Matters’ report promises support for UK food production

Posted on 7 Jul 2008 by The Manufacturer

The Cabinet office today released findings from a ten-month food policy investigation and promised to help UK food manufacturers in their fight towards healthier and more sustainable produce.

The report, ‘Food Matters’, addressing the issues the UK food industry in a global context, suggests policies need to change in order to help producers play their part in improving public health and in the fight against climate change.

While highlighting the issue of wastage and unequal distribution across the world, the government promised a discussion paper from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) on how the sector here in the UK can remain competitive while focussing on fairer prices and wider access to food.

Hilary Benn, secretary of state for Defra, said: “By 2050 we will need food for a world population that is wealthier and several billion larger. We will need to do this at the same time as adapting to a warming and less predictable climate. And, in addition, we will need to cut the greenhouse gas emissions associated with food production.”

A new study into the limitation of greenhouse gasses, global food supply and the implications for UK farmers and producers has been commissioned.

Another initiative will be to aid food manufacturer’s efforts towards healthier, more nutritional diets by campaigning to change public opinion and consumer market trends. A new push towards ‘5 A DAY’ fruit and vegetable consumption is to be initiated. The Food Standards Agency will also work more closely with producers and retailers to make heightened food safety an achievable aim.

Melanie Leech, director general of the Food and Drink Federation, said: “The Cabinet Office thinks that food matters, and we would agree. That’s why we applaud the Government for recognising the importance of maintaining a supportive environment for competitive UK food producers. This is particularly vital given the current economic uncertainty.”

“As the voice of the UK’s biggest manufacturing sector, we are pleased to see our issues being placed at the top of the Government’s policy agenda, with a strong commitment to deliver joined-up responses to ongoing debates in complex areas such as food security, safety, health and the environment,” added Ms Leech.