Responding to the publication of the National Food Strategy Interim Report, Tim Rycroft, FDF's Chief Operating Officer, said:
“We very much welcome the National Food Strategy Interim report today. In particular, we welcome the recommended measures which will help to increase access and affordability of food for children and families on lower incomes. We have long called on the government to introduce a more holistic approach to helping people to eat well, including targeted measures for those who need it most.
“The report is a considered contribution to the debate about the future of the food and drink supply chain, and we are pleased to see the report's focus on practical steps to promote recovery and, specifically, jobs.
“Food and drink manufacturing has risen heroically to the challenges of Covid-19. While Covid's immediate impact is receding, it will have long-term consequences for the operating model and, in some cases, the viability of many food and drink businesses, particularly those in the hospitality industry, as well as those companies that supply that sector. It is therefore essential that any measures we now adopt must facilitate and not hamper recovery.
“While we agree with the more targeted measures set out in the report, we are disappointed to see that Henry has endorsed two of the policies set out in the Government's obesity strategy – a proposed '9pm watershed' for HFSS advertising and banning retail and online promotions of HFSS products. The Government's own evidence shows these measures combined will only reduce a child's calorie consumption by 17 calories per day (1). Such measures will also massively dis- incentivise manufacturers to bring forward reformulated, healthier options since in many cases they will not be able to be advertised or promoted to consumers.
“Our food system is highly successful in providing choice, convenience and value to the public and industry is rightly proud of this. We acknowledge that there are issues that need to be addressed and we are ready to play our part. We look forward to working with Henry Dimbleby, his team and Defra in anticipation of the final National Food Strategy report in the coming months.”