Knowledge for better food systems

House of Commons - Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee report: Food security - demand, consumption and waste, Sixth Report of Session 2014–15

This report by the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee focuses on food security. The report makes recommendations for managing consumer demand, such as by encouraging the purchase of sustainably sourced products or the most nutritious food in order to help deliver environmental and health goals. It does not argue that there should be any further degree of compulsion on individuals.

Instead it emphasises the need for more effective deployment of information and advice by central government, local government, the third sector and retailers, in order to inform and support consumer behaviours that help deliver policy objectives.

This inquiry considered how to ensure that every UK citizen has access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food produced in a sustainable manner. The report follows the Committee's previous inquiry on Food security which reported on 1 July 2014. Environment Food and Rural Affairs Committee Chair, Miss Anne McIntosh said: "Everyone should have the opportunity to have a healthy diet at an affordable price and which supports sustainable food production. We will be looking at the factors influencing the choices we all make about the food we eat, where we buy it and how these affect the nation’s ability to ensure we all have access to good food. We will also ask how we can make sure that our food comes from sources that are sustainable so as to ensure secure food supplies for generations to come. One key concern is whether more can be done to tackle the staggering amount of food wasted at home, in restaurants and along the supply chain from farm to shop. While there has been some progress on this front, each household still throws away too much food".

People should be encouraged, the report says, to buy more British food, and to consider health more in their purchasing decisions.  This, apparently, is to be achieved through better labelling and more information. Joined up approaches are also needed to address waste and food poverty.  A definition of sustainability is not given in the report.

NB the report cites the FCRN’s written input to the report on pages 10-11. The FCRN’s full submission can be found here.

Read the full report here.

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