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Brits Losing Connections With Food They Eat Says FSA Report
People in the UK worry that convenience eating could cause them to lose a connection with the food they eat, suggests research published by FSA.
Participants in the study were concerned that the growing trends of convenience foods, online grocery shopping, and 'eating on the go' could decrease the social and cultural importance of sharing meals. They worry about a loss of connection with where our food comes from, and with each other, as we cook and eat together less as families and communities.
This is one of a number of findings from a public dialogue commissioned by the FSA to explore 'Our Food Future', a study to help understand how changes to the food system might impact on consumers in the UK. It aims to bring the consumer voice into the debate about the future of the food system and collect important evidence to inform future policy, working in partnership with other policy makers, industry, and retailers.
A summit was held as part of Our Food Future, bringing together 200 leading experts to discuss what the impact of changes to the global food system could be and what we all can do to get the best outcome for people in the UK.
Steve Wearne, Director of Policy at the Food Standards Agency, said: 'The food supply chain is increasingly complex and already under pressure from a growing world population. It's the FSA's role to understand how this affects the interests of consumers and engage with people about how the food system should be shaped for the future.
'We've said in our strategy that we are committed to open policy making and we are keen to invite input from everyone with a stake in the food system, including from those who buy and eat food. We want to identify and solve problems to deliver the best food future for us all. Our policies in this area, and those of others, are still being shaped and Our Food Future will have a crucial input into that.'
Other key findings from the research show:
* increased clarity on food labels has been widely welcomed by consumers, with many hoping the food industry will provide more information on a wider range of food issues * consumers are concerned that access to healthy and nutritious food could become a luxury as pricing prompts people to buy cheaper, processed food * participants hope that Government and regulators will play a more visible role in the future of food, to ensure that their interests are protected in a more complex world
The research was commissioned by the FSA, Food Standards Scotland, and Sciencewise and carried out by social research agency TNS BMRB. It comprised several parts - an online quantitative survey of 1,383 UK participants, an online qualitative forum with 22 participants, and a deliberative public dialogue in London, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Belfast, with each participant engaging in two workshops in their nearest location. Participants considered several future scenarios and expressed their hopes, fears and aspirations for the future of food.
Future trends in the food and drink industry and the emergence of “invisible commerce” were the focus at the 2016 City Food Lecture at a packed Guildhall, London.
The annual event, one of the most prestigious in the food calendar, brings together industry leaders, academics and craftsmen along with guests of honour, Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal and the Lord Mayor of London,
This year’s lecture was this year led by Christophe Jouan, Chief Executive of The Future Foundation.
The global trends analyst delivered a 40 minute address entitled “What, When and How will we be eating in 2025?”
Jouan predicted the rise of “invisible commerce” in the food sector as smart kitchen appliances will simply reorder basic food and household items when they run out, without the consumer even noticing.
He suggested this could revolutionise purchasing habits and create incredible “brand stickiness” for companies who use it successfully.
He saw this as the final step on the race to convenience for the food industry, preceded by new disruptive food buying mechanisms which deliver meal ingredients or even freshly cooked, locally sourced meals directly to consumers - bypassing the traditional retailer.
Jouan also touched on greater consciousness of health throughout society, driven by public awareness of rising obesity rates and due to uptake of wearable health monitoring devices.
These devices will mark the end of “one-size –fits-all” health initiatives and instead deliver personalised insights to consumers about what they need to do in that moment for their health and nutrition needs.
Equipped with far greater knowledge about the impacts of different food choices, he predicted that offsetting behaviour will become mainstream - people will balance indulgence in one area with restraint in another, perhaps justifying a burger by going to the gym.
Other projections included the rise of “flexitarians” - people who monitor their meat consumption due to health, price or environmental concerns.
Major new protein innovations will aid this behaviour, including the “impossible burger”, a cheeseburger which replicates the taste and texture of meat but is made entirely from hacked plant proteins and “sea-bacon” a fast-growing red algae which grows in the Atlantic which has the taste and texture of bacon when cooked.
Afterwards, Christophe said it had been an honour to be invited to give the lecture.
“It is such a British event, with the history and the royal element with Princess Anne in attendance, so it was a real honour and a pleasant surprise to be asked,” he said.
Discussing “invisible commerce”, he added: “I didn’t want to shake things up with what I said, it was more about trying to explain the opportunity that this presents.
“Invisible commerce is a complete revelation and one that is very real.
“The concept that you when we’re running low on food, technology can sense that and automatically reorder it for you and have it delivered is huge for food and commerce as a whole.”
Jouan cited Amazon Dash – a new innovation within the retailers’ website (currently only available to Amazon Prime members) that keeps a record of your past purchases and allows you to automatically reorder your favourite or most used household goods at the touch of a button – as an emerging example of the technology and said it could easily be applied to the food industry.
Following the lecture, a wide-ranging debate was held, chaired by British lawyer, businesswoman and former star of the BBC’s The Apprentice, Margaret Mountford.
On the panel were Judith Batchelar, director of brands at Sainsbury’s, Chris Elliot, a Professor of Food Safety at the University of Belfast and food writer and futurologist, Lyndon Gee.
They, along with Christophe, took a range of questions from the floor on everything from food security, waste and provenance to proposals for a sugar tax – which was rejected as a bad idea by the panel – and GM farming.
The event was rounded off with an informal networking supper in the Guildhall’s famous Old Library room.
The City Food Lecture is organised by seven City of London livery companies whose roots are in the food industry – namely the Worshipful Companies of Bakers, Butchers, Cooks, Farmers, Fishmongers, Fruiterers and Poulters.
Previous keynote speakers at the City Food Lecture include Sainsbury’s chief executive Justin King, Unilever chief executive Paul Polman, former Cadbury Schweppes chairman, John Sunderland, and former Tesco chief executive, Sir Terry Leahy.
Organic Meat Is Better For You And Pasture-Fed Even Better Still
There has always been a strong belief that organic meat has more nutritional benefits than non-organic, for the first time ever this has been confirmed. Devon-based Eversfield Organic is delighted by the results of a ground-breaking study which has been published today, 16 February 2016, in the British Journal of Nutrition. The study shows that organic milk and meat contain around 50% more beneficial omega-3 fatty acids than non-organic.
Mark Bury, founder and director of Eversfield Organic, comments: “It is highly encouraging to see our organic farming methods being endorsed by new research. It backs up what everyone in the industry has thought for a long time.” Mark continues: “In addition to this latest research, we also believe that cattle and sheep should have a 100% grass fed diet, with no grain, and be produced in accordance with the standards of the Pasture-Fed Livestock Association. Further research into this would undoubtedly prove even greater health gains.”
The Newcastle University-led international study is the most up-to-date analysis of published research into the nutrient content of organic compared to conventionally produced foods, synthesising the results of many more studies than previous analysis. It highlights that organically produced meat (especially beef) contains significantly higher concentrations of nutritionally desirable, polyunsaturated and omega-3 fatty acids and lower levels of two undesirable saturated fatty acids (myristic acid and palmitic acid), which are linked to heart disease. In addition to organic milk and meat, the nutritional differences also apply to organic dairy such as butter, cream, cheese and yoghurt.
There is a difference in omega-3 because organic animals eat a more natural grass-based diet containing high levels of clover. Clover is used in organic farming to fix nitrogen so that crops and grass grow (instead of manufactured/chemical fertilisers), and this research has found that clover also increases the omega-3 concentrations in meat and milk. Under organic standards, organic cows must eat a 60% fresh grass based diet or hay/silage (conserved grass). At Eversfield Organic the cows' diet is 100% grass fed.
Speaking about the research, Helen Browning, chief executive of the Soil Association says: “This research confirms what many people have always thought was true - what you feed farm animals and how you treat them affects the quality of the food, whether it's milk, cheese or a cut of meat. These scientists have shown that all the hard work organic farmers put into caring for their animals pays off in the quality of the food they produce - giving real value for money.” Helen continues: “Organic farming methods require all organic farmers to adopt techniques that guarantee nutritionally different foods. Following research in 2014 confirming nutritional differences between organic and non-organic crops like fruit and vegetables – we can now say for certain that organic farming makes organic food different.”
Eversfield Organic is a family run business based on a 450-acre organic farm located in the heart of the Devon countryside on the edge of the beautiful Dartmoor National Park. It has been delivering the finest grass fed organic meat online to households throughout the UK for twelve years. The farm was bought by Mark Bury in 2002 to realise a long held family ambition with his son, Hamish, and daughter, Anna, to produce the best quality organic meat – meat which would come from the happiest of animals and fresh products which would be accessible for everyone. Mark, Hamish, Anna and their team are committed to ensuring that this is affordable to all and that home cooking organic produce is a reasonable and cost-effective option for people who are as passionate as they are about what they eat and where it originates from.
Setting itself apart from other farms, Eversfield Organic's cattle and lamb are certified pasture fed for life by the Pasture-Fed Livestock Association and are free to roam, ensuring that the quality and taste of its meat is carried from the rolling Devon fields to the plate. High animal welfare, with all the animals treated in a caring and stress-free way, is fundamental to the business. In addition, the organic grass fed beef is well hung for up to 28 days.