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A week in news: EU food security pledge – the latest food and drink headlines 26-30 September

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4 min read
AUTHOR: Molly Long
EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen gives speech on podium in front of blue background and blue and yellow EU flag

In the UK, news this week has largely been focused on the fallout of Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng’s highly contentious mini budget. The various measures announced will undoubtedly have a long-term impact on the food industry, as with all other sectors. However, the UK’s was not the only food industry to have significant news this week – food systems in the EU, US and beyond are also facing a potential transformation.

EU Commission President pledges €600M to tackle global food insecurity

The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, announced this week that the governing body will contribute around €600 million to address global food security problems. Money will be used to fund humanitarian aid, as well as develop more sustainable food systems across Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific Islands.

President von der Leyen said: “Team Europe is answering the call from citizens to address food security, to take care of our health and the health of our planet.Explore the projects the funding will be split between.

Morrisons profits halve after ‘unprecedented’ inflation

Former ‘Big Four’ supermarket Morrisons has revealed its profits nosedived over the summer, following unforeseen inflationary pressures experienced by its in-house food processing arm. It said underlying profits had halved to £177M in the 13 weeks to 31 July 2022, from £356M in the same period a year earlier.

In a statement, Morrisons said: “As a food maker, we feel the effects of inflation earlier than other retailers but conversely are able to recover more quickly when inflation falls.” The announcement follows news from earlier this month that the food retailer was bumped from its place as the fourth-largest supermarket in the UK by Aldi, as consumers continue to flock to discount retailers to mitigate the effects of the cost of living crisis.

Finland tops Global Food Security Index, but overall food access is diminishing

According to Economist Impact’s latest Global Food Security Index report, Finnish people have the highest level of food security in the world, but worldwide reliable access to food is deteriorating overall.

While the world was experiencing an average improvement in food security around a decade ago, the general trend in 2022 is that the global food environment is weakening, as a result of factors like the Ukraine-Russia war and the climate crisis causing volatile weather. Discover the 20 most food secure countries in the world, and how they are measured.

Joe Biden holds ‘hunger’ conference, and announces $8B in private sector donations

This week, US President Joe Biden has been holding a summit dedicated to addressing the country’s widespread hunger problem – the first event of its kind in more than 50 years. As part of the food conference he announced the news that $8B of private sector funding will be used to ease the problem.

Among the donors are non-profit FoodCorps, which pledged to invest $250 million into free, healthy school meals and to expand nutrition education in schools. Meanwhile, The Food Industry Association has also promised to get its members to donate two billion meals to food banks and other organisations in the next year, and also make it easier to use food stamp vouchers online.

41% of UK pub owners fear they could close within the year

Only three fifths (59%) of UK pub managers and owners think they will still be open in 12 months’ time, according to research from foodservice franchise company Peckwater Brands. The doubts are the result of increasing pressure being put on the hospitality sector because of inflation.

Alongside these damning statistics, the survey of English, Scottish, Northern Irish and Welsh pub managers and owners also revealed less than 39% have confidence in the Government’s support for the hospitality sector. Find out what else is causing concern for the nation’s pub landlords.

Farmers threaten to quit NFU over nature subsidies

National Farmers’ Union (NFU) President Minette Batters has angered members following comments she made about the UK Government considering scrapping post-Brexit nature subsidies. Batters’s support for the decision has led to some farmers threatening to leave the union.

The President said her priority was ensuring farmers continue to grow the UK’s food, but this has been construed as an ‘anti-nature’ stance, particularly by food producers that have taken great pains to limit their farms’ negative impact on the environment. Regenerative farmer Jake Freestone told The Guardian: We do need to focus on the environment as well as food production and what does worry me is if we are going to throw out a lot of environmental protection on the basis of food security.

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