The UK's food system is currently dominated by a handful of supermarkets and exert their influence over producers and the wider food supply chain. We need to shift away from this structure and towards one that is built on small and medium sized enterprises that embed social and environmental values.
In January 2023, we published a report called Unpicking Food Prices which showed that farmers often receive less than 1% of profit made in the supermarket chain. This is one reason why change is needed if we want to realise a transition to agroecological farming.
The UK Government must play a key role by investing in the growth of better food enterprises and shorter supply chains. By doing so, we can start to transform the sector into one that is built on good jobs and livelihoods, which pays producers a fair price, and which aims to support climate, nature, and health outcomes.
In 2022, we piloted a mapping exercise called A Tale of Two Counties which looked at local food supply chains in two counties. We found a lack of data and infrastructure in place, and the need for investment at the local level.
Sustain is exploring what mechanisms, interventions, and policies are needed to make this happen through the Sustainable Farming Campaign, Bridging the Gap project, and Local Food Retail work.