Food systems are fragile and vulnerable, but not broken

allmanhall ITN interview on food systems

This was Duncan Williamson’s opening message. It set the tone of hope and call to act, now, that ran through the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) Annual Conference in November. There was a real sense that we should remain positive and responsible – it’s not too late to make a difference. The Conference went on emphasise the need for dramatic change and the key parts each of us can play in doing so. This supports the sentiment provided by allmanhall’s Mike Meek, Procurement and Sustainability Director, in his recent interview for ITN with Louise Minchin.

“Our currently stressed food supply chain requires change.”

Overview

The BNF conference theme, ‘A Fragile Food System and Increasing Inequality’ felt particularly relevant to allmanhall given our absolute commitment to challenging and transforming food supply so informed decisions become clear.

Duncan Williamson, Forum for the Future, kicked off the speakers’ section and highlighted the significant environmental challenges faced as a result of our approach to food production and consumption. Again, this mirrored the thoughts of our own Mike Meek:

“A food supply system which produces 30% of global greenhouse gases, and where 30% of food produced is never even consumed needs rethinking, In particular tackling waste and moderating demand.”

British Nutrition Foundation conference

Sally Ball, Kantar, then shared insightful findings on consumer trends relating to health and sustainability. Dr. Christian Reynolds, University of London, discussed the changing climate and how our policies and dietary behaviour needs to adapt. Dr. Adrian Brown ended this part of the session examining the paradoxical link between obesity and food insecurity. The same things as discussed by allmanhall’s Rachael Venditti in the same ITN interview were addressed:

“Nutrition is impacted by a more sustainable diet. A sustainable diet is also a healthy diet. The principles of eating in a sustainable way that reduces environmental impacts does in fact reflect guidance around what is a healthy diet.

Guidelines to a healthy diet are set out in the Eat Lancet planetary health diet, which recommends a diet that is varied and is the right quantity for the individual to reduce waste as well as obesity or equally malnutrition. A diet that includes plenty of fruit, vegetables, whole grains and plant-based proteins is recommended. And yes, a small amount of meat, fish and dairy too.”

allmanhall's Nutrition For Life Interview

The British Nutrition Foundation Annual Conference, held in London, included the launch of the ITN news style programme, Nutrition for Life, in which allmanhall were interviewed.

The day also marked the recognition of annual awards, celebrating those making real contributions to nutrition. The 2023 BNF prize was awarded to Professor Sir Michael Marmot.

The event culminated in a fantastic lecture from Professor Julie Lovegrove, last year’s winner of the BNF Prize.

allmanhall ITN interview

What was a key take home message of the day?

Food production is making a significant environmental impact. We are at a critical moment in time where real change needs to happen. There are signs that dietary patterns are more sustainable, but the pace of change needs to accelerate. Policies and trends must encourage healthy sustainable diets.

As already mentioned, the event also marked the launch of the incredibly insightful and informative BNF Nutrition for Life programme, in partnership with ITN Business. allmanhall were delighted to be invited to contribute to this programme. Our Procurement & Sustainability Director, Mike Meek, and Business Development Manager & Nutritionist, Rachael Venditti RNutr. Were interviewed, discussing the critical areas of sustainability and health.

The highlight had to be Mike’s shout out to the humble bean!

You can watch the full interview below…

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