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Food 2030--the government's vision.

Defra have launched the Government's vision for food by the year 2030 and have described hew they believe we will get there.

The document begins with outlining the Government's vision for a sustainable and secure food system for 2030 and they have identified four key bullet points in what they want to achieve. They are as follows:

1. Consumers are informed, can choose and afford healthy, sustainable food. This demand is met by profitable, competitive, highly skilled and resilient farming, fishing and food businesses, supported by first class research and development.

2. Food is produced, processed, and distributed, to feed a growing global population in ways which:

* Use global natural resources sustainably,

* Enable the continuing provision of the benefits and services a healthy natural environment provides,

* Promote high standards of animal health and welfare,

* Protect food safety,

* Make a significant contribution to rural communities, and

* Allow us to show global leadership on food sustainability.

3. Our food security is ensured through strong UK agriculture and food sectors and international trade links with EU and global partners, which support developing economies.

4. The UK has a low carbon food system, which is efficient with resources--any waste is reused, recycled or used for energy generation.

It is very hard to find any objection to the vision as portrayed by the Government although one is left with the feeling that it is a panacea of well intended wishes whilst the achievement of that vision will be much more problematical.

The document then goes on to talk in some detail about the 'Priorities for Food 2030'. They have been summarised as being six-fold as follows:

1. Enabling and encouraging people to eat a healthy, sustainable diet

2. Ensuring a resilient, profitable and competitive food system

3. Increasing food production sustainably

4. Reducing the food system's greenhouse gas emissions

5. Reducing, reusing and reprocessing waste

6. Increasing the impact of skills, knowledge, research and technology

Again the priorities are ones that it would be hard to find fault with but of course, as always the devil is in the detail.

We have seen some of the delivery devices being used by Defra including Change 4 Life, the Healthier Food Mark and the Healthy Start Scheme to mention just three. We also know from the lobbying that we are undertaking with the Department of Health that the Healthier Food Mark includes references to consumers enjoying seasonal food. We will continue to oppose those areas that we feel are inappropriate and also damaging for the frozen food industry. But we also attempt to engage wherever we can with Government Departments; to persuade them of the benefits that frozen food can bring to help them meet their Food Vision for 2030. In particular, the reduction of waste has been one of the key priorities for the Government and is an obvious opportunity for us as a trade association to push the case for frozen food. If you would like to read the full document it can be found on http://www.defra.gov.uk/foodfarm/ food/pdf/food2030strategy.pdf

RETAIL MARKET GROWTH SLOWING DOWN SLIGHTLY

The latest data for the retail frozen food market kindly supplied by TNS Worldpanel, for the 52 weeks ending 29th November 09, shows that the market now has a value of 5.1bn [pounds sterling] and has grown by 4.2% year on year. Whilst the market growth has slowed down a little, mainly as a result of falling inflation, it has still increased in value by over 200m [pounds sterling] in the last 12 months. Volume continues to be flat with virtually no change year on year.

It is still most encouraging that all product sectors analysed are still in value growth with the frozen savoury food sector showing 7.5% growth, frozen confectionery 6.4% growth, ice cream recovering well at 5.5% growth and frozen fish at 4.6% growth.

Indeed, given that the market is now comparing itself against bullish year on year growth last year, it is most encouraging that value growth continues to move forward.

In the last two years, the market has increased in value by over 500m [pounds sterling] with even the worst performing product sector adding 25m [pounds sterling] in value.

The level of food inflation has slowed down from a peak of 6.1% year on year six months ago to around 4% today.

We are now into a new election year and whatever the outcome of that will be, one thing for certain is that there will be much pain to come. Whichever political party is in power, they will either need to reduce spending or raise taxes or indeed both. Some consumers have barely been touched by the recession as those in employment have enjoyed significantly reduced mortgage costs, whilst pensioners and those dependent on investment income have really struggled.

I suspect the next year to two years will see a return of some inflation, disposable households income being squeezed even more and the resulting need for households to manage budgets ever more tightly. The scenario I have painted above can only result in the frozen food market being well placed to help consumers manage budgets, still enjoy nutritious, affordable food and continue to minimise food wastage.

By Brian Young, Director-General--British Frozen Food Federation
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Title Annotation:from the BFFF
Author:Young, Brian
Publication:Frozen & Chilled Foods
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Feb 1, 2010
Words:883
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