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With the epidemic of obesity and the cost of living crisis continuing to impact families’ access to nutritious food across the UK – food policy has been a key point of contention. From the government reneging on its promise to ban two-for-one junk food deals or the friction in trade from Brexit. There has never been a more crucial time for the food industry to voice the support it needs from a future government.

As such, Whitehouse Communications hosted a private roundtable with the Shadow Minister for Food, Farming and Fisheries, Daniel Zeichner MP, and key players in the Food Industry. Kevin White, Fresh Food Editor at the Grocer Chaired the insightful discussion with senior executives from Sainsbury’s, Cool Milk, ESSNA, Too Good To Go, Oatly and about the future of the UK’s food system and how a Labour Government would engage and communicate with the industry.

The discussion posed serious questions about the current state of the UK’s food system and how a Labour Government would work with the food industry at pace to achieve real mission-led outcomes. There was also a desire around the table to see a future government drive food policy across the government.

It was also highlighted that there isn’t enough support in the UK for our farmers and food producers, evidenced by the falling output in the farming sector. The next government will need to communicate better with industry and provide more support for food to be produced in the UK. Current support in the form of grants has fallen far short of what is needed and what was provided before Brexit.

The roundtable also discussed how Brexit was marketed as creating opportunities for the UK but many of the problems that plagued the Food Industry before Brexit persist now, with new problems arising due to new trade requirements and restrictions. The current government only had a plan to deliver Brexit but not a plan for what followed. Attendees agreed it was pivotal for the incoming government to have a vision for the UK’s alignment and engagement with the EU regarding the food industry. This included how to reduce bureaucracy, improve support for producers and farmers, and reduce trade friction.

Overall, it provided an excellent opportunity for key players in the food industry to get a flavour for food policy under a Labour Government and enable them to voice their concerns to the Shadow Minister for Food during a vital time when Labour is finalising its manifesto.