Those food and drink firms hoping for support from their local MPs in the food and health debate had better think again.
New research by The Grocer suggests most MPs are simply not measuring up.
We approached MPs of all parties with high numbers of food employees within their constituencies to canvas their views on food and health and the impending government White Paper on Public Health.
We sent a survey to the MPs and in many cases made a follow-up phone call and sent it to them again. The result? Just four of them responded.
And companies that have been in the firing line most should be particularly worried - if not absolutely frustrated by this apparent lack of interest in such an important topic.
Among those who failed to respond to our survey, for
instance, was Lynne Jones, the Labour MP for Birmingham Selly Oak, where Cadbury’s flagship factory can be found.
Hugh Bayley, Labour MP for York, didn’t bother either - even though his constituency is home to Nestlé Rowntree. And Cheltenham’s LibDem MP Nigel Jones was another who did not answer our questions - even though he represents those working at Kraft Foods.
Labour MP for Pontefract and Castleford, Yvette Cooper, said she would only respond to questions “from constituents”.
We believe her constituency has as many as 1,000 people directly employed in the food industry.
But Laura Moffatt, Labour member for Crawley, which is home to a host of food suppliers and The Grocer, described our Junk the Spin campaign as “an excellent initiative”.
She felt the solutions to the country’s obesity problem were clearer labelling, encouraging healthy eating and improving school meals.
Carlisle’s Labour MP Eric Martlew, who worked for 20 years in the food industry, called on the industry to listen to MPs and lead the way when it came to labelling and product reformulation.