‘Farm policy must focus on consumer power’

Consumer power is the best way to increase environmentally sustainable food production, claim government advisers.

Efforts to promote sustainable production should focus on consumer demand to bring about change, according to the Council of Food Policy Advisers

The council’s second report Food: A recipe for a healthy, sustainable, and successful future was published on Tuesday (16 March).

It also calls for a national debate to find the best way to balance the needs of agriculture with demands such as housing, energy and infrastructure.

In addition, the document highlights the need for continued research and development across the entire food chain.

Council chairman Suzi Leather said: “The food sector is large, it is essential to the economy and it has a major role in tackling health issues and climate change.

“The pressing need to create a viable food system for people and the planet requires that food policy is high in the priorities of any government.”

The report was published as Dame Suzi announced that she was stepping down from her role.

Her interim successor will be Iain Ferguson, chairman of the Wilton Park conference centre and a former chief executive of Tate and Lyle.

Following the publication of the report, a review of the council’s work to date is to be undertaken.

It will assess the input of the council and what role it can continue to play in the development of food policy.