Behind the Headlines

Analysis, comment and opinion on the news headlines within the foodservice industry

Big food: beautiful or beastly?

As the EU considers a planned merger between Bayer and Monsanto, campaigners are questioning whether such deals are good for ethics, innovation or the environment. By David Burrows. In September 2016, German pharmaceuticals firm Bayer and US seed producer Monsanto announced a “definitive merger agreement”. The $66 billion (£50 billion) deal would provide “significant and…
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M&S: the big sustainability push

With single-use packaging in politicians’ sights, the retailer’s circular economy lead talks to Footprint about plans to cut waste to zero. By David Burrows. It’s 14 months since Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall launched his offensive against the coffee shop chains and single-use coffee cups. Starbucks, Costa and Nero bore the brunt of the celebrity chef’s ire, but…
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UK food waste strategies don’t measure up

Westminster’s plans aren’t good enough to even be included in a major global study, writes Nick Hughes. How do approaches to tackling food waste in the UK compare with other countries? The answer is not very favourably, unless you live in Scotland. In fact, government plans to tackle food waste in England were not even…
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Cereal firms are still stopped at the red light

Many manufacturers are still shying away from colour-coded nutrition labels. Could Brexit force them out of hiding, asks David Burrows. In June 2013 the UK government launched a new front-of-pack (FOP) label that combined red, amber and green colour-coding with nutritional information showing how much salt, fat, saturated fat and sugar and how many calories…
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What’s in Gove’s plastic bag of tricks?

The new environment secretary’s praise for the carrier bag tax suggests that a previously regulation-shy government could get tough on waste. By David Burrows. What a difference 5p makes. New DEFRA figures show that seven of the UK’s largest food retailers have issued 83% fewer plastic bags since a tax was introduced in October 2015.…
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Is Fairtrade fair game?

Sainsbury’s has suffered a PR fiasco after ditching the label on some of its teas – but there are legitimate questions about whether the certification scheme works. By David Burrows. Joanna Blythman – the self-proclaimed “thorn in the flesh” of the processed food industry and supermarkets – used her regular column in the Grocer this month to…
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Challenge for agriculture as emissions progress stalls

Agriculture is expected to miss key reduction targets for greenhouse gases. With bold new policies needed, shifting demand could be the next step. By Nick Hughes. The UK’s transition to a resilient low-carbon economy is in danger of being derailed by a lack of government action on climate change. That was the stark warning issued…
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New food advertising rules are better but not perfect

Restrictions on junk food adverts have been extended to cover children’s non-broadcast media, including print, posters, cinema, online, advergames and social media. Restrictions were already in place for TV. The new rules, which apply to media targeted at under-16s, reflect changing media habits amongst young people – children aged five to 15 spend 15 hours…
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Bring on the nanny state?

A free-market think-tank has condemned government intervention in people’s lifestyles – but if it has cut smoking and drinking, perhaps obesity should be the next target. By David Burrows. The “nanny state index” published in May shows “the best and worst places to eat, drink and smoke” in Europe. Countries are marked out of 100 in…
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Pass the parcel on food waste

MPs say it’s retailers’ problem but the industry says households need to do more. Is it time for the government to step in? By David Burrows. Hardly a month goes by without another new “wonky vegetable” brand being launched or a partnership between a fast-food chain and a local food redistribution charity. But is the…
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