IFST Publishes Call to Action to Support a UK-wide National Food Strategy

Food professionals identify three key areas which should be addressed to ensure future food security for the UK.

The Institute of Food Science and Technology (IFST) is the UK’s leading professional body that aims to advance the application of food science and technology for the benefit, safety and health of the public. Our wide-ranging professional membership comprises stakeholders working in all corners of the food system, who are directly involved in the evolution of the UK food sector.

Our values place scientific evidence at the core of any engagement with the public, policymakers and members, ensuring that evidence remains central to future UK food system developments.

We present IFST’s vision for an inclusive UK-wide Food Strategy, highlighting our key imperatives and reiterating our commitment to support Government, industry, academia, citizens and IFST members in achieving this vision.

In this call to action, we propose evidence-based changes needed to bolster a professional, resilient and innovative UK food sector. These key aspects require urgent attention to enable future support for the UK population locally at a personal level, at a professional level and at a national level.

The position is downloadable via these links:

Open Letter    

Executive Summary

Three key areas are highlighted in our call to action:

  • The need for a long-term truly UK-wide national food strategy
  • Investment in the food sector to build a competent, innovative and resilient industry with strong foundations in science and technology
  • A need to inform and educate our UK population on healthy, sustainable diets to empower citizens to eat healthily and sustainably.

IFST fully supports the creation of a National Food Strategy and propose the scope should cover the entire United Kingdom, and address the interdependencies of the food system from production to consumption and beyond. We recommend that a UK-wide food strategy needs to be ambitious and holistic with a clear pathway to implementation, whilst addressing the interdependencies of the food system.

Additionally, deliberate and coordinated efforts are needed to ensure all UK citizens have access to nutritious, safe, affordable, delicious and sustainable food. Citizens must be supported to ensure they have a sufficient understanding of food, diet and food sources, which allows them to follow a culturally relevant, healthy and balanced diet.

We also note that a food system resilience should be built-in, ensuring capacity to survive shocks, adapt to change and make a pivotal contribution to a thriving UK economy, including highly professionalised operations that provide equitable and rewarding employment for those working in them.

The UK food system is a key positive contributor to the achievement of global and national environmental targets. Strategic investment in food research and supporting infrastructure is needed to build the UK’s global position as a leader in food research and development, driving innovation and providing technological solutions fit for a sustainable future food system.

We believe that food should be a priority at the highest level of Government in the UK. Coordinated and joined-up thinking is needed with clear, capable and strategic governance, integrated across all Government departments and agencies, and stakeholders to benefit all actors in the UK food sector.

In this vision, IFST puts forward key points of urgency and primary relevance to our members and to the UK food system and we look forward to engaging further on the recommendations presented with any and all stakeholders.