UK preparedness for future food system shocks

Our latest report, UK preparedness for future system shocks, puts forward a proposition for buffer contingency stocks, as part of of the UK’s resilience to future food system shocks:

It covers:

  • The UK food system: Building resilience
  • Learning from Covid-19 unpreparedness
  • Buffer contingency stocks: How the system could work
  • What stocks to choose, what not to choose and why
  • Resourcing food system resilience: Trust, governance, economics and the value of life.

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Why we did this work
Several people among the many we’ve been consulting since mid-March for our Covid-19 commentary queried whether or not the UK had stockpiles of safe, nutritious foods for crisis situations such as this pandemic. To our knowledge, it hadn’t, a situation confirmed by the experience during Covid-19 lockdown; see this blogpost about an approach to us from the MoD in early April, and this one about the millions of people without access to sufficient food).

Through further interviews, conversations and a great deal of head-scratching, the report is an answer this question:

  • Should the UK have stockpiles of safe, nutritious food? If, so, how would such a stock system be set up? What would its structure be? Its governance?

The questions, arguments and discussions around this proposition  will, at the least, enable socio-political decision-makers recognise potential serious disruptions to the UK food system capacity and capability earlier than they would otherwise.