Alice Garvey, Jonathan Norman and John Barrett
Our team responded to the Defra call for evidence on a national food strategy, recognising the need to improve sustainability of the food system as well as reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Defra has commissioned an independent review into the UK food system to shape a new National Food Strategy. This call for evidence addresses the systemic issues we face with current production including food insecurity, and environmental and public health pressures. The call aims to uncover actions and policies which could shape a more socially, economically and environmentally sustainable future food system.
Summary of our response
We welcome the focus in the call for evidence on improving the environmental sustainability of the UK food system and recognising its critical role in climate change mitigation. In summary, we feel that:
- There is considerable scope for creating dietary guidelines which promote both better quality diets and improved environmental outcomes.
- Providing food labelling to encourage pro-environmental choices is a positive idea.
- Policy could identify which foods have the highest nutritional quality per calorie, whilst ensuring that any variable pricing strategies are well-designed and distributionally just.
- Reducing waste of specific food groups which have higher emissions intensities, such as meat and dairy, could have a disproportionately positive impact.
- Tax incentives and supportive grants to de-risk investment in technologies with large upfront capital costs could be effective.
Garvey, A., Norman, J. and Barrett, J. 2019. Consultation on a national food strategy (9 pages, 245 KB)
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