Blog: Dean BestGordon's clampdown on waste

Dean Best | 7 July 2008

The thought of Gordon Brown, the UK Prime Minister, hectoring the country’s population on how to save food has grabbed the headlines here this morning (7 July).

However, leave to one side the image of the Iron Chancellor doing a Delia and telling us how to make the best of the leftovers in the back of the fridge.

For, as Brown, along with other G8 leaders meet in Japan for their annual summit, the global food crisis and government food policy is taking centre stage – and could have deep ramifications for your business.

As Brown met with the rest of his G8 counterparts, the UK government published its review of food policy in the country. The crux of the “challenge” ahead, the Government said, is how to cater for a growing global population, while keeping food prices down and combating climate change. No easy task, then.

Less household food waste was a key message from the report but, alongside that aim, came others including making farming in the developing world more efficient, a further push on reducing the food industry’s impact on the environment and fresh impetus behind improving the population’s diet.

The UK food industry has made moves on some of these issues but the publication of the report, which was personally commissioned by the Prime Minister, will be sure to place more pressure on all in the sector.

One top food industry executive feeling the heat last week was Marks & Spencer boss Sir Stuart Rose. M&S’s bleak trading update and the subsequent fall in its share price will leave Sir Stuart facing some tough questions at the company’s AGM on Wednesday (9 July).

Following the furore over Sir Stuart’s move to combine the chairman and chief executive roles at M&S, the company’s poor performance will give disgruntled investors further cause for complaint.

As one analyst told me last week, things could get “ugly” this week for the retailer.


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