The UK government said today (10 July) there needs to be “a culture change” in the food industry to ensure the country can produce food sustainably amid “soaring” population growth.

UK farming minister Jim Paice called on all in the sector to “pull together” to change the way food is produced in the UK.

Paice, speaking as the Government published a report into how the food industry needed to adapt, said the sector must waste less and look to new technology to feed a rising population.

“With our increasingly hungry world every country must play its part to produce more food and improve the environment. Britain already punches above its weight, but we’re a small island with limited space, so we’ve got to show leadership and play to our strengths more efficiently,” Paice said.
“We’re not talking about setting Soviet-style targets but an overall approach in which the whole food chain pulls together. Whether it means embracing new farming technology or people wasting less, we’ve got to become more sustainable.”

The Green Food Project, unveiled by Paice today, is the result of an ongoing study into how the UK’s food system must change in order to “keep affordable without destroying nature, at a time of soaring world population growth”, the UK’s Department for the Environment Food and Rural Affairs said.

Farmers, manufacturers and environmentalists were asked how the industry can reconcile the demands of producing more food and improving the environment.

The initial report sets out how the sector can use less energy and water in food production; increase crop yields; introduce more “innovative” technology and improve conservation management.

Project members included the National Farmers Union, WWF-UK, the British Retail Consortium and the Food and Drink Federation.

“There are already many examples of cutting edge innovations in all sectors, but these are the exception rather than the rule. We are talking about the need for a culture change across the entire food chain and this is the first step in a long-term plan to make that happen,” Paice said.