Historic reform to food system needed to protect the NHS, improve the health of the nation and save our environment

The National Food Strategy has called on the Government to commit to a historic package of reforms in order to build a better food system for a healthier nation.

In a landmark report, food entrepreneur Henry Dimbleby sets out in stark detail how poor diets contribute to around 64,000 deaths every year in England alone and cost the economy an estimated £74 billion. Dimbleby also warns that our eating habits are destroying the environment, which in turn threatens our food security. The food we eat accounts for around a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions, and is the leading cause of biodiversity destruction.

The independent report, commissioned by the Government in 2019, calls for the introduction of the world’s first Sugar and Salt Reformulation Tax, with some of the money being used to expand free school meals and support the diets of those living in the most deprived neighbourhoods. It also calls for food education to be central to the national curriculum, and
for food standards to be protected in any new trade deals.

Dimbleby also recommends measures to restore and protect our natural environment, by investing in sustainable farming techniques and new food technologies such as novel proteins.

Major backers of today’s report include chef and campaigner Jamie Oliver, social welfare expert and former senior civil servant Dame Louise Casey, the economist Partha Dasgupta, and the chef Prue Leith.

The National Food Strategy report sets out how our diets will need to change over the next ten years in order to meet the Government’s existing targets on health, climate and nature. By 2032, fruit and vegetable consumption will have to increase by 30%, and fibre consumption by 50%, while consumption of food high in saturated fat, salt and sugar will have to go down by 25%, and meat consumption should reduce by 30%.

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