January 24, 2020

Lords call for evidence for inquiry on food insecurity and sustainability

A House of Lords Committee has today (Wednesday 24th July) called for evidence to inform its inquiry into the links between food insecurity, health inequalities and environmental sustainability.

Healthy life expectancy is nearly 20 years shorter in the lowest income groups than in the highest. Our diets are a key part of this. The Committee will consider how a healthier and more environmentally sustainable diet can be made accessible to everyone and what changes to food policy, the industry and existing measures can achieve this.

Today’s call is for evidence on the roles food and poverty play in producing health inequalities, and the links between our health, our diets, and the sustainability of our food systems. Ultimately, the Committee will wish to recommend changes to Government policy to remedy the situation. Questions cover: 

  • Causes of food insecurity and its impact on public health
  • The barriers that prevent people from accessing healthy food and eating a healthy diet
  • The role of local authorities in promoting healthy eating in their local populations and what existing locally-led schemes have already been successful 
  • The impact of food industry practices (including product formulation, portion size, packaging and labelling) on consumers dietary choices 
  • Whether changes are needed to ensure a more environmentally sustainable food system in the UK
  • Whether efforts to improve food production sustainability could offer solutions to improving food insecurity and dietary health in the UK

Chairman of the Committee, Lord Krebs, said: “With healthy foods three times more expensive than unhealthy foods, people on low incomes are struggling to afford to eat well and levels of obesity and weight-related diseases are rising. The UK has the highest proportion of people worried about having enough to eat of all European countries.   At the same time, the environmental footprint of our agriculture and food industries must be reduced if we are to meet our net zero emissions target.

“Our call for evidence, published today, focuses on these issues. We hope that anyone with an interest in food, social or environmental issues will answer the call and help us to get to the bottom of how to make a healthy, sustainable diet accessible to everyone.”

Written evidence should be submitted online using the written submission form available at here.

The deadline for submission of written evidence is 12 September 2019.