How resilient is the UK’s food supply chain?
9 November 2023
Since 2022 the UK has experienced high food inflation, with rising food prices having a significant impact as a driver of the cost of living crisis. External shocks such as the Covid-19 pandemic and the conflict in Ukraine have directly affected the UK’s food supply chain, raising questions about its resilience and potential vulnerabilities.
- Watch Parliament live: Fairness in the food supply chain
- Inquiry: Fairness in the food supply chain
- Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee
Tuesday 14 November 2023, Committee Room 6, Palace of Westminster
- Dr Carrie Bradshaw, Lecturer in Law at the University of Leeds and member of the Global Food and Environment Institute
- Vicki Hird, Strategic Lead on Agriculture at The Wildlife Trust and former Head of Sustainable Farming, Sustain
- Ms Sue Davies, Head of Consumer Rights and Food Policy at Which
- Professor Charlotte Hardman, Professor of Psychology of Eating Behaviour at the University of Liverpool
- Dr Francesca Pontin, Research Data Scientist, Consumer Data Research Centre at the University of Leeds
In an evidence session on Tuesday, the EFRA Committee examines how the UK’s food supply chain operates, the market power of supermarkets and manufacturers in the food supply chain and the relationship between food production costs and food and retail prices. MPs will also examine whether the structure of the food supply chain creates an expectation of cheap food.
The Committee’s hearing focuses on the impact on consumers, how well they are served by the current structure of the UK’s food supply chain and how well the interests of consumers and suppliers are currently balanced. MPs will examine what steps could be taken to promote fairness and redress any existing imbalances.
The EFRA Committee interrogates whether the rising cost of living has resulted in a deterioration in people’s food purchasing habits, considering whether increased food costs exacerbate existing health disparities.
MPs evaluate what mechanisms the Government could put in place to help consumers in the event of future shocks to the food supply chain and will look at how the just-in-time nature of the supply chain affects its ability to withstand unforeseen disruptions.
The Committee examines what the advantages and disadvantages are of the current structure of the UK’s food supply chain for supermarkets and question witnesses on whether loyalty card prices on food offered by some supermarkets benefit consumers and how they impact people’s access to affordable and nutritious food.