Time for Change…
There is hope!
There are certainly very many concerns over the way in which we as consumers are targetedÂ by supermarkets and encouraged to purchase produce which has very little nutritional content. Supermarkets are huge beast with one sole focus – profit! They wield their buying powers dangerously, forcing farmers and producers down on pricing (last year we saw Dairy farmers being squeezed on prices by supermarkets). There is no regard shown for the impact on our health, our local economies and the effect on the world as a whole.
But do not be dismayed, change is coming
Farmers Markets have grown in number from 1 to 550 in the last decade.
Organic box schemes have seen 53% year-on-year growth.
There is evidence of higher demand for allotments & home-grown vegetables.
People in the UK value the cultural and social dimensions of food much more strongly we are becoming a nation of foodies & fuelies.
Foodie citizens may be more alert to the climate change, animal welfare, health and labour rights implications of what they are consuming.
>Recent rises in fuel prices have already seen shopping patterns begin to change. M&S Chairman Sir Stuart Rose has already commented that people are choosing to shop locally rather than out of town.
Many large Supermarkets are now introducing Carbon Labelling on their food products showing consumers the impact of each product being brought to them.
Celebrity Chef – Jamie Oliver, through various campaigns has dramatically increased our awareness of the food our children are consuming in schools. His campaigns have brought about vast change in school meals and menus, although there is still more to be done.
In July 2008 the UK Cabinet Office Strategy Unit published Food Matters (The Strategy Unit, July 2008) which signalled a fresh approach to food policy across Government. Food Matters also recommended that DEFRA should work to define more clearly what a sustainable food system might look like. The Food Strategy vision:
Consumers are informed, can choose and afford healthy, sustainable food. This demand is met by profitable, competitive, highly skilled and resilient farming, fishing and food businesses, supported by first class research and development.
Food is produced, processed, and distributed, to feed a growing global population in ways which:
- use global natural resources sustainably
- enable the continuing provision of the benefits and services a healthy natural
- environment provides
- promote high standards of animal health and welfare
- protect food safety
- make a significant contribution to rural communities
- allow us to show global leadership on food sustainability
Change is almost certainly coming. We are becoming far more educated and knowledgeable about where our food has been sourced from, by what means and at what cost.