Government calls for clearer food sustainability labelling

Clearer labelling is the key to a sustainable food production and a healthier nation according to the Government’s new food strategy, Food 2030.

Speaking at the Oxford Farming Conference today (5 January), Hilary Benn, the Environment and Food Secretary said that people power can help bring about a revolution in the way food is produced and sold.

However, the strength of this ‘power’ will depend upon better information on the impact of the products consumers are buying in terms of health and the environment. This could take the form of simplified on-pack labelling and in-store advice such as recipe cards.

The document reads: “If emissions are to be reduced across the food system, while also protecting consumer choice, a comprehensive and accessible way of informing consumers about the climate impacts of their food as well as encouraging and enabling them to change their behaviour will be required.”

What this labelling will look like is unknown, but it seems unlikely to be based around food miles or greenhouse gas emissions.

Commenting on Food 2030, Dax Lovegrove, head of business and industry at WWF said eco-labelling on products without real public understanding of the impacts that food has on our planet will have limitations.

He said retailers have a “great opportunity” to outgreen each other but they must engage customers in smart ways that connect them to key issues. “This could involve telling the story of sustainable products, a marketing tactic which can be very inspiring and lead to improved customer loyalty.”