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UK Food Security Report 2021

9918500874?profile=RESIZE_710x This report is an analysis of statistical data on food security in the United Kingdom.

It is the first in a series of reports which will be published under a new duty in the Agriculture Act 2020 to report to Parliament on food security in the United Kingdom at least once every three years.

The UK Food Security Report (UKFSR) examines past, current, and predicted trends relevant to food security, to present the best available and impartial analysis of food security in the UK, and to lay the groundwork for future Food Security Reports.

Food security is a complex and multi-faceted issue. To address the subject’s many diverse aspects, the UKFSR is structured around five principal ‘themes’, each addressing an important component of modern-day food security in the UK. They are as follows: global food availability, which describes supply and demand issues, trends and risk on a global scale, and how they may affect UK food supply;
UK food supply, which looks at the UK’s main sources of food at home and overseas; supply chain resilience, which outlines the physical, economic, and human infrastructure that underlies the food supply chain, and that chain’s vulnerabilities; household-level food security, which deals with issues of affordability and access to food; and food safety and consumer confidence, which details food crime and safety issues.

The report draws on a broad range of published statistical data from government and other sources. These quantitative sources are supplemented with case studies and qualitative analysis where necessary and helpful. In some cases, where quantitative evidence is not available due to data being limited or confidential, or where the report references recent events which are not yet reflected in published statistics, only qualitative analysis is available.

What is food security?
Food security has many dimensions. As a topic, it encompasses the state of global agriculture and markets on which the UK is reliant; the sources of raw
materials and foodstuffs in the UK and abroad; the manufacturing, wholesale, and retail industries that ultimately bring food to shelves and plates, and their complex supply chains of inputs and logistics; and the systems of inspection that allow consumers to be confident their food is safe, authentic, and of a high standard. 

Accordingly, this report examines the issue of whether the UK is food secure across five ‘themes.’

  • Theme 1: Global Food Availability
  • Theme 2: UK Food Supply Sources
  • Theme 3: Supply Chain Resilience
  • Theme 4: Food Security at Household Level
  • Theme 5: Food Safety and Consumer Confidence: the activities of the Food Authenticity Network and Centres of Expertise are featured in this theme.

Read full report (pdf version) and a fully accessible HTML will be available shortly.

As this is the first in what will be a series of reports to be published, government is very happy to receive written feedback on the content of the UKFSR at foodsecurityreport@defra.gov.uk and there is also an online questionnaire you can find here.

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The climate emergency is recognised as one of the greatest threats to our planet. The UK government is participating in global efforts to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5°C and has set legislative targets for the UK to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. UK retailers recognise and support the need for urgent action and have come together through the BRC to draw up this Climate Action Roadmap with the aim of accelerating progress towards a net zero retail industry.

The Roadmap provides retailers with guidance on the steps they can take to decarbonise their operations and supply chains. It gives retailers tools to plot their own journey to net zero, with the needs of their customers, employees and business at the centre. The Roadmap also provides clear directions in order to allow retail industry suppliers, business partners and other stakeholders to take action to decarbonise their own activities.

The aim of the roadmap is that by 2040, every UK consumer can make purchases – in store and online – safe in the knowledge that they are not contributing to climate change.

Download the Executive Summary here, email climate@brc.org.uk to learn how to get involved, and read on for more detail.

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In late July, following considerable interest and reporting on the relationship between obesity and COVID-19, the UK Government released a policy paper:

‘Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives’

As a group of nutrition researchers, educators and clinicians, we recognise the complexity which spans diet, nutrition and health interfacing with diverse domains such as the social sciences, economics and politics on one hand as well as genetics and biomedical sciences on the other. We also recognise the complexities associated with obesity and weight loss. Therefore, we advocate for the appreciation and adoption of a wider, complete understanding of the science behind obesity and the strategies which are needed to address it.

In its' response to the UK Government policy paper on obesity, NNEdPro discussed four points of the proposed obesity strategy and provide recommendations for a more comprehensive and impactful response.

Read full NNEdPro response.

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FILE PHOTO: People eat chips whilst walking along the promenade at the British holiday resort of Scarborough, England July 16, 2009. REUTERS/Kevin Coombs/File Photo

Your weight is affected by a myriad of biological and societal factors

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The Environment Secretary Michael Gove appointed Henry Dimbleby to conduct this year-long review, and to then set out my recommendations within six months of its completion. Government will then publish an ambitious, multi-disciplinary National Food Strategy, the first of its kind for 75 years, in the form of a White Paper.

Part One of the UK National Food Strategy has been published; the recommendations cover two main themes:

• Making sure a generation of our most disadvantaged children do not get left behind.Eating well in childhood is the very foundation stone of equality of opportunity. It is essential for both physical and mental growth.

• Grasping the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to decide what kind of trading nation we want to be.The essence of sovereignty is freedom – including the freedom to uphold our own values and principles within the global marketplace. 

Over the next year the team will speak to people from across the food chain, from farmers in the field to chefs in the kitchen. We will consult experts from around the world, as well as those whose voices are seldom heard, but who have personal experience of the failings of our food system: low-paid workers in agriculture and food production, people with diet-related diseases, farmers living on the margins, and many more.

If you would like to be involved in the conversation, please get in touch: communications@nationalfoodstrategy.org.

 

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Fig. 1

Transformation of the food system at the national scale requires concerted action from government, business and civil society, based on sound evidence from the research community. A programme for transformation of the United Kingdom’s food system, for healthy people and a healthy environment, is described here.

A coordinated national approach

A newly launched, eight-year, £47.5 million strategic research programme, led by the Global Food Security programme (www.foodsecurity.ac.uk) and funded by UK Research and Innovation in partnership with government departments, is focusing on transformational change of the UK’s food system for healthy people and a healthy environment5. It brings together academia, government, business and civil society organizations within interdisciplinary consortia to provide evidence for multi-pronged and simultaneous action across the food system. 

Read full article.

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