Knowledge for better food systems

Sustainable Food Systems: How does the UK measure up?

In this report the Food Ethics Council asked experts to look at the UK’s position on a number of issues in the Food Sustainability Index (created by the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition Foundation) and to state how, in their view, the country could do better.

Areas in which the UK performed well are:

  • Quality of R&D and innovation
  • Quality of animal welfare regulation
  • Policies to address food losses,
  • Initiatives to recycle water for agricultural use
  • The degree of property rights protection
  • Prevalence of undernourishment
  • Relatively low rates of micronutrient deficiency (vitamin A)

Areas in which they were outperformed by other countries are:

  • Childhood obesity (the UK ranks 20th out of 25 in terms of prevalence of overweight in
    2-18 year olds.)
  • Participation of youth in farming (the UK comes bottom of the table, 25th out of 25)
  • Serious issues around biodiversity loss driven by the UK population’s eating habits
  • Lack of diversity in the UK’s food system in terms of food and farming business types and sizes

To read more and to download the report, see this webpage

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Europe is the world's second-smallest continent by surface area, covering just over 10 million square kilometres or 6.8% of the global land area, but it is the third-most populous continent after Asia and Africa, with a population of around 740 million people or about 11% of the world's population. Its climate is heavily affected by warm Atlantic currents that temper winters and summers on much of the continent. In the European Union, farmers represent only 4.7% of the working population, yet manage nearly half of its land area.

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