This report from the New Economics Foundation concludes the UK food system is failing. It is unsustainable, energy-intensive, supports bad jobs, is overly complex, is unequal and volatile. Including environmental impacts, the cost of obesity and
subsidies paid through the Common Agricultural Policy, the report
estimates the total external cost of the UK food system as
£11-£26 billion, 12–28% greater than the price we pay at the till. To contrast with this picture, examples are presented of food systems that deliver high wellbeing, social
justice and environmental stewardship. They have many lessons to teach: small-scale infrastructure is critical; resource efficient systems are possible; short and integrated supply chains can bring benefits for farmers; the social benefits of employment must be recognised; farmers and businesses can drive environmental change. These examples illustrate that environmental and social gains are not mutually exclusive of economic ones.