Features

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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So far so good for the GCA

Many argued that her job should never have existed but Christine Tacon can point to four years well spent as the government’s supply chain watchdog. By Nick Hughes. It is testament to Christine Tacon’s durability that she recently celebrated four years in a job that many politicians and business leaders felt should never have existed.…
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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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EU health ministers call for more effective policies to tackle childhood obesity

Europe’s health ministers believe there is “ample evidence” to justify tougher restrictions junk food advertising, especially online. Members of the employment, social policy, health and consumer affairs council (EPSCO) also criticised the self-regulatory approach favoured by many countries. In new guidelines to tackle childhood obesity, the council said the focus should be on both lack…
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The robots are coming

Machines are replacing people on farms, food factories and McDonald’s restaurants. But fears that they will make humans redundant are overblown, writes Nick Hughes. When self-service kiosks began rolling out to McDonald’s outlets in 2015, staff could have been forgiven for fearing the worst. The machines, which looked like giant white smartphones, allowed customers to…
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Creating Young Chefs from the Floorboards Up

Less than a fortnight ago the Essential Cuisine team and I were lucky enough to witness a young chef from the world-famous L’Enclume in Cartmel, Cumbria, cook his way to an impressive victory in the 15th annual North West Young Chef competition.  In those 15 years, we have seen the technical bar raised time and…
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Brits baffled by sugar tax

Nearly eight in 10 people are aware that there’s a new tax on sugar being introduced but they don’t have a clue what products will be covered. In a survey of 539 adults by Nielsen, not one correctly identified that the levy only applies to sugary soft drinks. Two-thirds believed it would apply to sweets/sugared…
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EU rules on junk food marketing watered down

Plans to revise the rules around advertising of junk food to children have been watered down by the European Parliament, according to campaigners. The audiovisual media services directive (AVMSD) is a package of laws covering television advertising and shopping, sponsorship and product placement. Campaigners identified it as a “once in a decade” opportunity to protect…
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Politicians side-tracked by sugar taxes

Politicians have been distracted by sugar taxes rather than led the fight to tackle obesity from all angles, according to Richard Dobbs, senior partner at McKinsey and lead author of his firm’s seminal report on obesity in 2014. Dobbs claimed there is a “real gap in political leadership”. Politicians and policymakers are not as concerned…
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