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Business of Food

A week in news: a farewell to fresh counters – the latest food and drink headlines 19-23 December

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4 min read
AUTHOR: Molly Long
houses by a river in Aarhus

The week before Christmas has brought a variety of food news stories to the fore. Many headlines showcase the food industry and its various stakeholders acting defensively in a bid to support businesses and consumers alike – from the Greek government paying citizens’ food bills to ease the burden of inflation, to UK Chancellor Jeremy Hunt freezing alcohol duty to try and safeguard UK hospitality.

Other food news lays bare just how the current food system has impacted consumers’ lives. New NHS Digital data sheds light on the prevalence of obesity in England, while statistics from Aarhus University and EIT Food reveals how consumers are altering their behaviour to cope with the rising cost of living.

Here were the biggest food news stories of the week:

Greek government to help citizens pay for their food bills amid high inflation

From February 2023 the Greek government will cover 10% of its citizens’ food bills, in a bid to lessen the burden of inflation. The move will cost the government around €650 million and was announced by Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

As in the UK, Greece has been experiencing a period of high inflation in 2022, reaching a peak of 12% in September. Grocery inflation in the country has reached even higher levels, peaking at 15% last month. Find out what else the Greek government is doing to support people.

Alcohol duty freeze to be extended to help the UK hospitality industry

The Government plans to extend its freeze on alcohol duty for a further six months, to help pubs and restaurants through the looming recession. This means no duty will be paid on beers, wines, cider and spirits until August 2023.

The alcohol sector is vital to our country’s social fabric and supports thousands of jobs – we have listened to pubs, breweries and industry reps concerned about their future as they get ready for the new, simpler, alcohol tax system taking effect from August,” Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury James Cartlidge said while announcing the decision to MPs.

NHS data reveals more than one in four people in England are obese

Some 26% of people living in England are living with obesity, and the majority of the population are overweight, according to new NHS data. The damning statistics were published in the Health Survey for England, the service’s annual report on public health which covers areas like smoking and alcohol usage, as well as obesity and overweight prevalence.

According to the data, 69% of men and 59% of women were overweight or obese at the time of the survey. Explore the statistics related to obesity in England.

Tesco may axe remaining in-store fresh food counters

‘Big 4’ supermarket Tesco is planning to get rid of its remaining in-store fresh food counters according to a report in The Telegraph. The move is said to be a response to changing consumer habits which see shoppers opt for pre-packed goods over fresh to keep food bills lower.

Tesco closed more than 300 fresh food counters earlier this year, and the remaining 279 are now reportedly being scrapped to cut running costs – a move which could put hundreds of jobs on the line. Here’s what we know so far.

European consumers forgo meat and fish to cope with food price hikes, data shows

Food shortages and price hikes prompted by the Ukraine-Russia conflict are pushing European customers away from dietary staples like meat and dairy, according to new data. The Changes in food behaviour in times of crisis study was led by Aarhus University, in Denmark.

Data shared by Aarhus University revealed that the majority of Europeans (55%) believe Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has made the food system within the bloc more vulnerable, and almost the same amount (54%) believe it is to blame for recent high food prices. Read more.

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