Knowledge for better food systems

Food Ethics Council discussion paper on seasonal food

The Food Ethics Council (FEC) has produced a short discussion paper, commissioned by the Co-op, on seasonal food.
The Food Ethics Council (FEC) has produced a short discussion paper, commissioned by the Co-op, on seasonal food. Since the majority of food is bought in multiples, buying seasonal food, for most people, means buying it from a supermarket. Many of the UK's main food retailers back eating seasonably. But does in-season food from a supermarket - where most people buy most of their food - live up to the promises that are made for it? Is it really better for the planet? The FEC examines the evidence regarding local food and some of the benefits it has been argued to bring. These are a smaller ecological footprint, green citizenship, food education, health and wellbeing and rural development. The paper shows that the issues are complicated and proposes that supermarkets should consider greater seasonal variation in their product ranges as one possible outcome - not a goal in itself - of a concerted strategy to improve the environmental and social footprints of their supply chains. It recommends that seasonal marketing should be seen as one of a package of measures that retailers can take to help match demand to variability in supply. It should be carefully monitored for its effectiveness in promoting wider objectives of campaigns on seasonal food, including green citizenship and healthy eating.
 

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