Britain has several food crises going on at the same time, but what seems extraordinary is that they contradict each other.
We now import about 40% of our food, where once we were self sufficient; the world’s population is soaring and its ability to feed itself is becoming more and more tested, with regular famines leading to food riots where crops fail; the numbers of honey bees and other pollinators are crashing; adverse weather continues to play havoc with the harvests and, yet, Britain’s population has never been so obese. We waste an estimated third of all the food we buy and the food that we do consume often contains too much salt and sugar.
It is difficult to make sense of this. However, it appears that the number of supermarkets in Britain has now reached saturation point. This is borne out in their flat year-on-year growth figures and means that all they can do is compete for market share- hence, the world of BOGOF (buy one, get one free).
This encourages both wastage and over indulgence. My local market town, Petersfield, has a population approaching 14,000, but manages to fit in a Waitrose, Morrisons, Lidl, M&S and two Tescos. It’s no wonder that they’re competing to persuade us to buy more, but at what cost to the planet and ourselves?
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