Health and wellbeing for all
- In 2007, three fifths of the UK population were overweight and a quarter obese. Type 2 diabetes, which is strongly related to obesity, affects more than 2 million people in the UK.
- By 2050, obesity and diet-related ill-health will cost the NHS more than £10 billion each year, with the wider costs to society and business estimated to exceed £50 billion.
- 3 million people in the UK are suffering or at risk of suffering malnutrition, with a particular prevalence among the young, elderly and those from lower income households.
- From field to fork, food and farming is responsible for around one fifth of all the UK's greenhouse gas emissions - as much as all of our transport or all of our domestic power outputs.
- 30,000 tonnes of pesticides and herbicides are used in the UK each year, over 95% of which reach destinations other than their intended target - including wildlife, soil, water and food.
- Every year, 3 million tonnes of food is wasted by the food industry and another 5 million tonnes of perfectly safe food, worth more than £12 billion, is thrown away by UK consumers.
Local economic prosperity
- Approximately 50 traditional food stores - butchers, bakers, fishmongers, grocers and community stores - close every week. 97% of our food is now sold through supermarkets.
- Since 1970, the UK has lost two thirds of its apple orchards and we now import 500,000 tonnes each year. Over the same period employment in UK agriculture has more than halved.
- Local authorities could multiply the amount of money circulating in the local food economy by 400% if they gave procurement contracts to local food businesses.
- Despite record levels of demand and the division of large allotments into smaller plots, between 1996 and 2005 the total number of allotments in the UK fell by more than 50,000.
- A rapid decline in cooking skills due to a lack of education, particularly among children and younger adults, has contributed to the UK consuming more ready meals than any other European country.
- In 2011 over half of all brownfield sites in the UK were not being used, a total of more than 32,000 hectares of land that could be used by urban planners to produce food for the local community.
Fairness in the food chain
- With year on year food price inflation at 5% and a contraction in real wages, the number of people in the UK who cannot afford a healthy diet is rising rapidly from the current 4 million.
- In 2011, demand for food handouts from charities rose 20%, reflecting a rapid increase in food poverty, which now affects approximately 1 in 5 people in the UK and impacts on their access to healthy food.
- Most small scale farmers, which make up 225,000 of the UK’s 300,000 farms, earn less than the minimum wage. Farm and food business workers are among the lowest paid in all sectors.