Building a food system that works for everyone

Think tank: IPPR

Author(s): Luke Murphy; Paul Coleman; Marcus Nyman; Oyinlola Oyebode

May 6, 2021

This report from UK think tank IPPR looks at how to start addressing the many challenges currently facing the UK food system.

The global food system is intricately linked to many of the greatest problems facing the world today, from the rise of non-communicable diseases, childhood hunger and food insecurity to environmental degradation, species loss and climate change. Over recent decades, the food system has become increasingly wasteful, processed and environmentally damaging. The Covid-19 pandemic has brought the vulnerabilities of the UK food system into sharp relief. the moment in which we find ourselves in, from building new trading relationships post-Brexit to the needs of meeting net zero, presents an unparalleled opportunity to re-orientate our food system towards a fairer, healthier, and more sustainable system of food production and consumption. One way or another change is coming but the question is, what change, in whose interest, and at whose expense? Everyone, irrespective of social or economic group, should be able to access appropriate healthy and affordable food, produced in ways that support the return of biodiversity to farmed landscapes, removes carbon from the atmosphere, and avoids polluting ecosystems, while providing meaningful and sustainable livelihoods for those working in the agri-food sector. This report puts forward a series of recommendations for the UK and devolved governments, as well as local authorities, to start addressing the many challenges currently facing the UK food system.