An increasing proportion of people in the UK say that they think healthy eating is important. But consumption patterns still fall short of aspirations for a healthier diet.
The average British person eats too much salt, saturated fat and added sugars, and not enough fruit, vegetables, whole grains and oily fish. Not only does poor diet increase the risk of cancer, heart disease and diabetes, it affects mental health and well-being. Research shows that people on low-incomes are less likely to eat healthy foods. The annual cost of diet-related ill-heath to the NHS is estimated at £6 billion.
To what extent is personal choice affected by the food industry? Should the industry be doing more to promote healthier food? Should the government set health benchmarks for food? Whose responsibility is it to educate children on eating well?
Large food manufacturing and retail companies are in a powerful position to shape what consumers eat and to help them make better informed choices.
Government must match its policy focus on personal responsibilities with a commitment to social welfare and education. Following the the UN's 'right to food' framework, to which the UK is a signatory, it should: