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First step taken to develop sustainable UK food supply chain

Sustainable food news – by GreenWise staff
10th July 2012
The first step in a long-term plan to create a sustainable food supply chain for Britain was launched today with a ground-breaking study looking at how production and consumption could change in the future to meet competing demands of producing more food and improving the environment.
The Green Food Project is the first sustainable food initiative of its kind to bring together Government, farmers, manufacturers, retailers, caterers, environmentalists and scientists. Today it launched its first report to address Britain’s looming food crisis without degrading the natural environment.

The Government’s Foresight report into food security, published last year, estimated that by 2050 two billion more people will be living on the planet and 70 per cent more food will need to be produced. It also estimated that between 30 to 50 per cent of all food grown worldwide may be wasted.

The Green Food Project has been set up to address these challenges and to respond to the Government’s Natural Environment White Paper, published in June 2011, which recommended kick-starting an open debate between "Government, industry and environmental partners to reconcile how we will achieve our goals of improving the environment and increasing food production". 

Test cases
Today’s report indentifies a number of strategic steps the industry can take to deliver a more sustainable food system, including reducing energy and water in food production; increasing crop yields; stimulating innovation; improving conservation management and tackling skills shortages. The study attempts to test out new approaches across five sectors – wheat, dairy, bread, curry and geographical areas – chosen because of their importance in the UK food supply chain and their potential wider relevance. The report also comes up with a number of actions to help deliver the Green Food Project’s long-term sustainable food strategy.

Launching today’s report Paice said: "With our increasingly hungry world every country must play its part to produce more food and improve the environment. Britain already punches above its weight, but we’re a small island with limited space, so we’ve got to show leadership and play to our strengths more efficiently.

"We’re not talking about setting Soviet-style targets but an overall approach in which the whole food chain pulls together. Whether it means embracing new farming technology or people wasting less, we’ve got to become more sustainable."

Commenting on the report, Andrew Kuyk, director of Sustainability at the Food and Drink Federation, said: "This has been a genuinely collaborative project addressing fundamental questions about the future direction of the UK’s food system. We have not come up with all the answers, but we have set a clear course for what needs to happen and shown that it is only by working together that we can reduce the risks and maximise the benefits of what we are able to produce, now and in the future, to help deliver safe, secure, affordable and nutritious food supplies for generations to come."

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