a hand holding tomatoes

Reaction to the Food Strategy White Paper

13th June , 2022

Speaking on the publication of the Government’s Food Strategy White Paper, the Chief Executive of the Plant-based Food Alliance UK, Marisa Heath said:

 

“The Food Strategy White Paper is a missed opportunity, and ignores the potential that plant-based foods offer to progress the Government’s climate and health objectives.

 

“Plant-based food and drink has incredible potential to deliver on the Government’s aims, and we hope that Ministers will do more to embrace our sector in the months and years ahead.  It is inevitable that plant-based food will be a part of the future food landscape, with just over a quarter of the UK population already describing themselves as flexitarian.  We should take the opportunity to become an international leader in creating a shift towards a more plant-based diet because doing so would reduce greenhouse gas emissions as well as creating economic opportunities and tackling some of the health problems faced by the overburdened NHS.

 

“We welcome plans to develop a separate horticulture strategy and we think the Government should go further and adopt a target for growing plant-based consumption in the UK. Scientists agree that the fastest, most cost-effective and least societally disruptive way to tackle the climate crisis is to reduce livestock consumption and accelerate the shift towards plant-based diets. We welcome the commitment to the role of alternative proteins, and call upon the Government to ensure this includes plant-based foods. If the Government is serious about this work, we need to map out the implementation of the reduction in meat and dairy consumption, as suggested by Henry Dimbleby to meet our net zero goal, and how this will be achieved in time.

 

“There are opportunities to take big strides towards better food systems. The Government intends to make funding available to farmers, to boost productivity and support the transition to low carbon farming practices and it is essential that we see farmers supported so they can meet growing demand for more sustainable plant-based food and drink products as part of this funding.

“Additionally, the work around the methodology for eco-labelling offers another opportunity. It is essential that eco-labelling schemes should be holistic and help to pursue a fairer and more sustainable food system through transparency where consumers can easily compare the environmental impact of the plant-based and animal-based products being offered to them, to support people in lowering their carbon footprints.

“The UK has the chance now to drive a positive shift in food production for the long-term benefit of the environment, businesses and consumers, and we are keen to see more ambition come through as the thinking develops around this White Paper”.