Behind the Headlines

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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Left behind on animal welfare

Consumers, politicians and many companies are taking the issue seriously – so why are foodservice firms lagging?                                             There has been a “striking change” in the manner in which food companies talk about farm…
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Backlash over workers’ rights

Amazon, Sports Direct and ‘gig economy’ firms such as Deliveroo and UberEATS are seeing their reputations suffer after accusations of labour exploitation. By Tom Idle. There is nothing like a piece of legislation to focus the minds of corporate executives. The UK’s Modern Slavery Act – designed to protect vulnerable workers in parts of the…
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Sustainable diets in a post-Brexit world

Britain is a long way from being self-sufficient – and now is the time to reshape the food industry with health and sustainability in mind, writes Duncan Williamson. Food – how we grow, rear and catch it and what we eat – seemed to be largely missing from the Brexit debate. This strikes me as odd; it is the sector that will be most affected.

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Plastic bags, paper cups and Pigouvian taxes

Will a tax on disposable items be Coffey’s cup of tea? Hold the front page: the government has met – nay, exceeded – a waste target. Last month, DEFRA published data on plastic bag use. In the first six months of the bag tax in England, consumption has fallen to about 500m. That puts us on…
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Slow progress on soy

Foodservice firms are lagging way behind when it comes to responsible sourcing, according to WWF. By David Burrows. That very little difference two years make. WWF has just published its second scorecard assessing the performance of Europe’s biggest retail, foodservice, processing and feed companies in relation to soy. “Foodservice companies are lagging behind,” the authors…
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Last throw of the dice for voluntary deals?

The Courtauld Commitment is targeting big cuts in waste across the food industry, but if it fails then legislators may step in. By David Burrows. A lot rests on Courtauld 2025. The new food industry super-agreement aims to save £20 billion through resource efficiency, cut food and drink waste as well as greenhouse gases by…
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Behind the Headlines: Tesco’s farm fudge

The supermarket’s refresh of its fresh produce ranges using ‘fake’ farms has left a sour taste, but it won’t last for long, says David Burrows.

Poor old Tesco: just when it seems to have come up with a decent idea, the media throws it back in its face. More than 70 lines of fruit, veg, poultry, pork and beef have been revamped under seven new “farm” brands. These include Redmere Farms for veg, Rosedene Farms for fruits and Boswell Farms, which look after the beef. Trouble is – none of them exist.

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TTIP: toxic treaty or the real deal

British businesses face uncertainty from a US- EU trade pact which will open new markets but threatens to undermine key regulations. By Nick Hughes. As the frenzy builds around the forthcoming EU referendum, a treaty with potentially just as significant ramifications for UK business is quietly coming to fruition. The stodgily named Transatlantic Trade and…
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