National Food Strategy #16: A UK Food Security Institute

Our horizon scanning project highlighted for us the huge risks to UK food supplies. In our project report, Back from the future, we recommended the Government set up a UK Food Security Institute, a recommendation we repeat here.

The proposed Institute is modelled along the lines of the substructure that produces the US National Intelligence Council’s four yearly Global Trends Report, but in relation only to food security. Hence our view that it should led by senior members of the MoD and/or intelligence community, and be informed by professional agri-food research experts.

Its remit would be to

  • Draw up a long-term national food security strategy.
  • Advise the Government on new ‘sticks’ for the agri-food sector (restrictions, regulation, taxes) and ‘carrots (economic policy and investment) that will contribute to the delivery of that strategy.
  • Produce an Annual Report on the Government’s performance in meeting food security strategic goals.
  • For each incoming Government, provide a public update report* on the Institute’s long-term strategic analysis of global and UK food security.

*Global Trends is a substantial research report and briefing for each incoming President. It’s put in the public domain so the White House incumbent as well as Senators and Congress members cannot say they were unaware of the information within it.

note: The MoD call upon considerable expertise regarding food security as it is inevitably one of their major concerns; see their latest published Global Strategic Trends (2018) in which the word ‘food’ is mentioned over 100 times.


Another option is for a statutory body such as the Committee for Climate Change established under the 2008 Climate Change Act. Its purpose is to advise the UK Government and Devolved Administrations on emission targets and report to Parliament on progress made in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and preparing for climate change. This Committee has had substantial and continuing beneficial impact on society. Its impact is, however, curtailed as it has no de jure authority, and its recommendations can be and sometimes are ignored by Government.


Previous blogposts in this National Food Strategy series are:

#15: Drug foods and their specific risks to the food supply system

#14: Risk categorisation

#13: A local level strategy?

#12: Local risk and resilience

#11: City level responses to food insecurity

#10: The space between farm gate and food outlet

#9: Three scenarios and their risks to the supply chain

#8: Supply chain permutations are endless

#7: A simplified fresh produce supply chain map

#6: UK resilience to global risks to food supplies

#5: Global risks to UK food supplies

#4: The irreconcilables

#3:  The global competition for safe, nutritious food

#2: Responsibility, resilience and ethics

#1: The brief

A link to our submission is here.    A list of all the blogposts in this series is here.

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