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We need to fix our broken food system

News Section Icon Published 14/07/2014

Ten influential UK organisations have come together for the first time to try to fix our broken food system.

‘Square Meal: why we need a new recipe for farming, wildlife, food and public health’ is a new report out today supported by Compassion in World Farming, The Food Research Collaboration, the RSPB, Friends of the Earth, the National Trust, the Food Ethics Council, Sustain, the Wildlife Trusts, the Soil Association and Eating Better.

We have joined forces to show the need for major changes to food and farming policy.

Tim Lang, Professor of Food Policy at City University London and Chair of the Food Research Collaboration says: “The evidence of food’s impact on health is overwhelming, but not enough questions are being asked about whether UK food and farming industries are part of this problem. It’s often put down to consumer choice. But is it? Half of UK cereals are fed to animals, sources of fats and processed meats.

“Square Meal raises big questions: what would the UK food system look like if it was designed around health as well as eco-systems? The answer is surely: well, it wouldn’t look like this.”

Our CEO, Philip Lymbery, says: "The status-quo is not good enough. We need to rethink our food system based on the challenges that face us today.

"We need a food system that provides nutritious food for all, food produced with respect for the environment and for the animals involved; decent food for everyone forever."

The report focuses on four interconnected areas:


33% of under 18’s in the UK are overweight or obese. There are soaring costs to the NHS due to diet-related ill-health. More must be done to tackle health inequalities, and promote healthier sustainable diets.

Good food for all

Food prices have risen by 12% over the past six years, and more rises are expected. Tackling poverty and inequality must be a priority - alongside ensuring transparency, traceability and fairness in supply chains - so that we all see the benefits, from field to fork.

Sustainable Farming

75% of the protein fed to our livestock in the EU is imported. 25% of all UK farmers live in poverty. Investing in a resilient farming system is crucial to securing our food supply in the face of the shocks to the system likely from climate change, rising populations and dwindling resources.


In less than 50 years we have lost over 44 million pairs of breeding birds. We need to protect the soil upon which we all depend, creating a strong and connected ecological network and champion effective regulation and rural and urban planning policies.   


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