MPs have called on the government and retailers to do more to encourage shoppers to buy home-grown produce because it forms a vital part of a secure food supply system.
The recommendation was made in the Food security: Demand, Consumption and Waste report published on Thursday, 22 January by the cross-party Environment, Food and Rural Affairs committee.
Committee chairwoman Anne McIntosh MP said climate change and rising world populations meant ensuring everyone could access affordable, healthy food was a growing challenge for the UK.
“As shoppers typically spend just seconds deciding what to buy, the food industry and retailers can better help consumers to buy food from sustainable sources through providing clearer and more informative details.”
Anne McIntosh MP
“The myriad choices millions of people make every day on what food to buy and from where to buy it must be harnessed to support national food policy goals,” Mrs McIntosh said.
This should not be achieved by increasing regulation, but through better information from retailers and central and local government, she added.
“For example, consumers should be encouraged to buy British products, since British food production forms a vital component of a secure supply system.
“As shoppers typically spend just seconds deciding what to buy, the food industry and retailers can better help consumers to buy food from sustainable sources through providing clearer and more informative details,” Mrs McIntosh said.
She urged Defra to commission research to support improved labelling and retailers to be pro-active in providing in-depth product information online and in store.
The MPs’ report also covered the huge amount of food that is wasted in the UK each year.
It recommended the appointment of a food security co-ordinator to oversee the distribution of the 9m tonnes of food that is dumped each year.
The government co-ordinator should lead a taskforce to link up national work by charities, councils, retailers, food producers and manufactures to establish an effective redistribution network across the country, the report said.