A food crisis is likely to hit the UK and could have a major impact on coming elections, according to a stark warning from influential thinktank Chatham House.
The report says food production in the UK is poorly placed to cope with issues such as climate change and surging energy prices and advocates a more interventionist approach from government to safeguard supply.
The report, revealed in The Guardian, argues that the individual preferences of UK consumers will have to take a back seat as the emphasis on production shifts to reflect the needs of society.
It warns that climate change will limit crop yields, while demand for resource-demanding meat and dairy products will increase in emerging nations such as China and India.
The warning comes after Whitehall yesterday announced the creation of a new food policy unit to advise the Government on the major challenges currently facing the food industry.
The new Council of Food Policy Advisors will be drawn from representatives of all sectors within the industry and reflects the desire for “a more strategic approach” to food production in Westminster.
The team will sit under the aegis of the Department of Environment, Food & Rural Affairs and look into issues including affordability, security of supply and the environmental impact of food production.
“With rising prices and increasing demand across the globe, we can’t take our food supply for granted,” said environment secretary Hilary Benn. “Our food supply needs to be reliable and resilient and able to withstand shocks and crises. We must have a strong, thriving, environmentally sustainable farming industry in this country that continues to produce a significant proportion of our food.”