What is the National Food Strategy and how could it change the way England eats?

Reforming England’s food system could save the country £126 billion, according to a recent government-commissioned report. The National Food Strategy, led by British businessman Henry Dimbleby, proposes a raft of measures to shake up how food is produced and the kinds of diets most people eat.

The need for action is laid out in stark terms in the National Food Strategy's report. Poor diets contribute to around 64,000 deaths every year in England, and the government spends £18 billion a year treating obesity-related conditions. How we grow food accounts for a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions and is the leading cause of biodiversity destruction.

To meet these challenges, the report calls for “escaping the junk food cycle” to improve general health and reduce the strain on the NHS, reducing the gap in good diets between high- and low-income areas, using space more efficiently to grow food so that more land can return to nature, and creating a long-term shift in food culture.

The strategy is, in parts, highly ambitious, particularly in its framing of the challenge as a systemic issue, and in some of the more innovative measures it proposes.

Read 'What is the National Food Strategy and how could it change the way England eats?' in The Conversation. It is written by Professor David Barling and Dr. Kelly Parsons.