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A week in news: the race to develop a sustainable food system – the latest food and drink headlines 7-11 November

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4 min read
AUTHOR: Molly Long
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This week saw the start of COP27. In recent years, this news wasn’t necessarily related to the food industry. However this year’s conference has promised to have a focus on food systems as both a contributor to and victim of the climate crisis. All eyes will be on Sharm el-Sheikh as delegates from across the globe continue to mete out solutions that will reverse the course of environmental catastrophe – however as other headlines show, food organisations are already fighting for more sustainable futures.

Elsewhere, the cost of living crisis is continuing to impact the food industry – with inflation limiting access to certain foods and poor diets on the rise. It is hoped that Rishi Sunak’s rescheduled budget, planned for next week, will provide support to members of the public who have so far navigated the crisis without governmental help. Here are the biggest headlines in food and drink from this week:

UK food inflation hits record high of 14.7% and likely to increase further, says Kantar

Analytics company Kantar revealed this week that UK food inflation had hit 14.7%, an all-time high registered by the company since it began tracking prices in 2008. In real terms, this could mean that consumers see an increase in the food bills of up to £682 a year.

In a bid to lower the cost of bills, shoppers have been purchasing more own label goods, which have gone up in sales by 10.3%. Find out how Kantar expects inflation to impact upcoming events like the World Cup and Christmas.

Spain introduces new dietary guidelines recommending limited meat consumption

Spaniards are being encouraged to limit their consumption of meat to a maximum of three portions a week, as per new healthy and sustainable dietary guidelines published by Spain’s Agency for Food Safety and Nutrition (AESAN).

Recommendations in the report include prioritising plant-based over animal-derived produce for main sources of protein, marking a turning point for the country, which has the highest consumption of red meat in Europe. Explore the growing call for countries to encourage citizens to move away from meat consumption.

Food Trails Project calls for submissions to develop sustainable food systems in 11 European cities

Following on from Spain’s sustainable diet drive, this week the Food Trails Project put out a call to SMEs to come up with new ways to boost food systems in 11 European cities. The EU-funded initiative is being spearheaded by the Municipality of Milan and the Italian innovation centre Cariplo Factory.

Cities involved include Warsaw, Copenhagen, Birmingham and Grenoble. Successful SMEs will be supported from start to finish to realise their innovative solutions. Learn about the seven areas of sustainable food that organisers are looking to tackle.

More than 30% of Year 6 schoolchildren from England’s most deprived areas are obese, new NHS data shows

NHS Digital Data revealed the news this week that more than a third of primary schoolchildren in Year 6 (aged 10 to 11) are living with obesity in the most food insecure areas of England. Some 31.3% of Year 6 kids from poorer areas are classified as obese, compared to 13.5% from the least deprived regions.

The same pattern is playing out with younger children, with Reception aged children twice as likely to be obese if they are from deprived parts of the country. See what action experts are calling for to fight the childhood obesity epidemic.

COP27: cultured chicken on the menu for delegates in Sharm el-Sheikh

Attendees of COP27 will be among the first to trial cultivated chicken from GOOD Meat, the cultured meat division of Eat Just. The alternative protein will be served as part of a series of ‘historic dining experiences’ organised in partnership with the Singaporean delegation.

Announcing the news, Josh Tetrick, Co-Founder and CEO of the sustainable food company said there was “no better place” to launch the company’s latest product than COP27. Find out how else food sustainability is being put on the table at the conference.

Farmers warn of huge contraction in UK productivity for the year ahead

Finally, Efra was warned this week that market uncertainty has led farmers across all sectors to scale back their operations for 2023. This was particularly the case for growers, with tomato and cucumber production at their lowest levels since records began in 1985.

The state of affairs is the result of a number of pressures, from the increased price of fertiliser to labour shortages and policy uncertainty. Listen to how labour shortages in particular are threatening UK food production, and how the situation may be improved.


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