Future System Shocks: Food, people and the UK Government

A super-efficient commercial food system comes at a price. It’s fragile, as many millions learned to their cost when supplies are disrupted as with Covid-19. And secondly, only those who have the money to participate in the system can benefit.

Can the UK have a food system that allows everyone to have access to sufficient supplies of safe, nutritious food? Can it be better prepared for future food system shocks and, if so, how?

We’ve been asking people across the food sector these questions. And they’ve come back with a resounding yes — and a scenario in which the UK has a distributed system buffer contingency stocks of nutrient-dense foods.

The final version of this ‘ONE SCENARIO’ is out for review* and, once all reviews are back and amendments made, we’ll publish it in full on-line. (added note on 18th November: It is published on-line here.)

As we say in the draft Preface (replicated below, updated on 4th Nov), the proposed system means the UK Government can meet its responsibilities for all citizens to have access to sufficient supplies of safe, nutritious food for an active and healthy life under the 1996 Rome Declaration on food security.

The Government needs to take three course of action:

  • Ensure that all citizens have sufficient income from employment or the State to buy the food they need for an active and healthy life.
  • Subsidise the provision of safe, nutritious food.
  • Take action against the producers of non-nutritious food and beverages, which need include imposing an Excise Duty in order to, inter alia, price their products above those of safe, nutritious food.

*If you’d like to be one of the pre-publication reviewers, please do get in touch via info@birminghamfoodcouncil.org — we’d be delighted to have your contribution on these important matters.

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The Birmingham Food Council is a Community Interest Company registered in England and Wales number 8931789