Media Release

SMF responds to Government Food Strategy

The Social Market Foundation responds to the Government’s Food Strategy, out today.

On obesity and food poverty, Jake Shepherd, Researcher, said:

“The Government’s food strategy is yet another missed opportunity to alleviate the UK’s growing obesity challenge. While the extent of the problem is articulated clearly enough, including the role of wider health inequalities, deprivation, and the unaffordability of healthy foods in contributing to overweight and obesity rates, there is little to be said in terms of concrete policy solutions.

“The latest announcement hence joins a long chain of inadequate and unambitious obesity policies. To show it is serious about reducing obesity, the Government should consider a ‘whole systems’ approach whereby obesity and better health is considered in all aspects of policymaking.


On funding for alternative proteins, Linus Pardoe, Research Associate, said:
“The global race is on to develop the cutting-edge technologies that can revolutionise the quality, price and accessibility of meat substitutes. It is a positive step to see the government commit £120 million to public R&D for alternative proteins so that British universities and businesses can take their place at the forefront of that revolution.

“However, it is unclear if this represents ‘new’ money and the food strategy white paper provides another reminder that Whitehall lacks a coordinated, strategic approach to alternative proteins.

“At present, alternative protein policy is fragmented and underdeveloped, and whilst R&D spending is welcome, it represents only one of many ways government can help to catalyse the transition to greener proteins. Ministers should urgently develop an alternative protein strategy or the UK runs the risks of losing out to other nations like China, Singapore and the Netherlands.”


On child hunger and food insecurity, Jake Shepherd, Researcher, said:

“There is also insufficient focus on food poverty and tackling food prices. The Government’s strategy talks a lot about global food insecurity, but hunger – and in particular child hunger – in the UK is overlooked. With millions of children already going hungry and the cost of living crunch continuing to bite, more support is desperately needed.

“One such solution would be to extend Free School Meals to children whose families receive Universal Credit, households increasingly likely to struggle to keep up with rising living costs. An enhanced FSM scheme has been advocated by both the National Food Strategy and the SMF – it seems the Government has ignored those recommendations.”




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