Defra Launches Consultation on the Future of UK Food Policy

The Government today launched a consultation on what a secure food system in the UK should look like by 2030. After last year’s sudden jump in food and oil prices, as well as growing appreciation of the future impacts of climate change, food security has rocketed back onto the political agenda.

Interestingly, and perhaps not widely appreciated, is that the UK currently has a very good level of food security: we produce 60-65% of our own food, and import a further 20% from Europe. Britain is thus more food secure today than it was in the 1930s or 1950s.

Nevertheless, the Government argues that forward-planning is essential as the world will have another 3 billion people to feed by 2050, so preparations need to be made to produce more using less water and less oil. Livestock production in particular is a major source of global emissions, producing more emissions than the world transport sector.

As well as launching the consultation process, Defra has also published a scorecard-style assessment of the current state of the UK’s food supply. This food security assessment focuses on six areas, including global availability, UK food chain resilience and household food security, assessing the current situation and the likely situation in 5-10 years time. Whilst global fish stocks were assessed as “very unfavourable”, with little sign of improvement, areas such as the diversity of the UK’s suppliers of fresh fruit and vegetables was deemed “favourable” and set to improve even more.

For further details on the consultation, please click here.