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Covid-19 has exposed ‘serious weaknesses’ in UK food system

03 September 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted some serious flaws in the UK food system – from supply chain disruptions to inadequate conditions in manufacturing facilities and in the living situations of workers. 

If these flaws are not rectified it will leave the food sector in a poor position to deal with the long-term effects of the pandemic, according to a new study from Veris Strategies, in collaboration with 25 food industry and sustainability experts.

The ‘Building Back Better: Fixing the Future of Food’ report, which draws on in-depth interviews with senior executives at businesses including Roberts Bakery, Cranswick, Nestlé and Greencore, as well as sustainability leaders such as Mike Barry and Liz Goodwin, Senior Fellow & Director on Food Loss and Waste at the World Resources Institute, alongside a poll of 100 consumers, suggests there is a gap between consumer expectations of the effect the pandemic will have on food, and the position the industry is in to deliver change.

While 80% of the consumers questioned felt Covid-19 had affected how they think about and value the food they buy and eat, and nine out of 10 expected change to follow that would lead to healthier, more sustainable and ethical food consumption, confidence about the state of the sector to meet these challenges is fairly low. 

The majority (78%) of the industry experts polled believe the pandemic has exposed ‘serious weaknesses’, and 96% of those experts feel the UK food system is ‘not yet equipped to deal with the long-term impacts of Covid-19’.

Amongst other action points the report highlighted a need to relocalise, add resilience and responsibility, and to redefine and reimagine businesses to cope with the new normal, with a big emphasis on direct-to-consumer sales and online retail.

To download the report CLICK HERE.


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