"Brave, ambitious and brilliant"

FFCC Commissioners respond to NFS

By Jane Campbell

20th July 2021

FFCC's Commissioners are senior leaders from across the food, farming, health, finance, environment and rural sectors. Here, they comment on the National Food Strategy published in July 2021.

"Food-banking is the oft default response to tackling inequality and poverty across the UK. The food issued, often in the form of calorie-dense, highly processed, surplus and near dated foods – results in a diet, which as the National Food Strategy shows, promotes poor health outcomes for those on the lowest incomes.

As Adviser to the National Food Strategy, it has been a privilege to be able to embark on a journey to better understand the breadth of the UK food system, engaging with key stakeholders along the way, from farm to fork. The Community Eatwell Programme as a key recommendation is welcome, especially as it has the potential to facilitate much needed connections between the farmers and the community, as end users.

Only through better sourcing of fresh food, and better access to it, may we begin to address the growing public health emergency - and reduce dependency on food banks and the diet they provide.

Though the issue of welfare benefits is out of the scope of the National Food Strategy, the level of household income in Britain’s most deprived households can no longer be ignored. Low income, often benefit-capped households will still not be able to afford to buy healthy, nutritious foods. If we are serious about breaking the Junk Food Cycle for all – the time for change is now. As the government pursues its own ‘levelling up’ agenda, I urge them to take this rare opportunity to review Universal Credit, and the Local Housing Allowance, to ensure each low-income household across the UK has enough income to be able to eat healthily, cover basic housing & living costs and live independently.

The National Food Strategy is brave, ambitious and brilliant – much credit should be given to Henry, Tamsin and the team. First Love Foundation and I are proud to be associated with it and look forward, through my role at the Food, Farming and Countryside Commission to work towards implementing these recommendations."

Denise Bentley, FFCC Commissioner, Government advisor and Co-Founder, First Love Foundation

“I congratulate Henry Dimbleby and his team on the National Food Strategy for England which is comprehensive and ambitious. The plan’s clear and practical recommendations echo the work of the Food, Farming and Countryside Commission and have potential to deliver real and lasting change."

Sir Ian Cheshire, Chair, Food, Farming and Countryside Commission