MPs demand incentives for shoppers to buy British

Shoppers "should be encouraged to purchase more British products to help secure the future of national farming", a report on food security by the Commons Environment, Food & Rural Affairs Committee has insisted.

British-grown strawberries - image: HW
British-grown strawberries - image: HW

"Information and advice, not only from central Government but also from local government, the third sector and, importantly, retailers should be better deployed to influence and support consumer behaviours", it added.

Committee chairman Anne McIntosh said: "British food production forms a vital component of a secure supply system," and called on the food industry and retailers to "better help consumers to buy food from sustainable sources through providing clearer information".

The report urged Defra to "lead a joined-up national approach that saves and redistributes surplus food from all parts of the supply chain" and called for a "food security co-ordinator" to "bring together key agencies to develop effective systems to distribute far greater volumes of food that would otherwise go to waste".

McIntosh added: "The amount redistributed is pitifully small compared to the amount of good food that currently goes to waste."

Waste & Resources Action Programme figures show that of the 15 million tonnes of food wasted in the UK in 2013, three million tonnes were at farm level, nearly four million tonnes in manufacturing and seven million tonnes wasted in the home.

British Retail Consortium director of food and sustainability Andrew Opie said: "We all need to continue to focus on where we can make the biggest reductions in food waste, and that is in the supply chain and the home."

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