Good Food for All
Everyone has a right to healthy and affordable food. Good food for all means ensuring that people experiencing financial crisis or food poverty can access and afford a healthy diet. It means improving food in schools, hospitals and meals on wheels, and in a way that is ‘more than a meal’; good food should be integrated into education, social services and institutional policies. Sustain also works to combat excessive pressure from the advertising and marketing of unhealthy foods and drinks that contribute to poor health.
Sustain believes healthy, sustainable diets should be accessible and affordable to all. We want to see this principle upheld in law through the Right to Food, as well as in standards and institutional policies. These would help trigger action, accountability and sufficient resources to overcome the barriers to change.
Currently, 8.4 million people in the UK struggle to get enough to eat. People experiencing food poverty need adequate incomes, and we all need healthier food environments where good food is easily accessible and affordable, and which meets diverse cultural and nutritional needs.
Public sector institutions serve people who need nutritious and delicious food the most – nurseries, schools, hospitals, care settings and social services such as meals on wheels. This should be ‘more than a meal’, integrating good food education for children and welfare checks for those who would benefit.
Achieving such ambitions requires a food system that tips the balance back towards fresh, healthy and sustainably produced food. We need policies that reduce the pressure of unhealthy food advertising and marketing; for example, the sugary drinks tax now raises millions of pounds to invest in children’s health promotion. We also need policies that actively favour good food – for example, school and hospital food standards as well as national campaigns to encourage food producers to serve us more healthy fruit and veg.
An estimated 8.4 million people in the UK struggle to get enough to eat, whilst one in three children also leave primary school overweight or have obesity.
175% increase in the number of food parcels being distributed by independent food banks between 2019 and 2020.*
Only 54% of eligible families were receiving Healthy Start vouchers in 2021, a cash shortfall of £70M.*
Children from the most deprived areas are twice as likely to be at risk of being overweight or obesity.*
Children who recall seeing junk food advertising on television every day are also twice as likely to have obesity.
“Food poverty has no place in the world’s 6th largest economy but whilst we work with other organisations to tackle the root causes we must continue to fight to ensure everyone living in poverty, no matter their age, location, background or circumstances has dignified and secure access to food now and in the future”
Simon Shaw, Sustain Head of Food Poverty Programme
What we're fighting for today
Ensuring healthy and sustainable food and nutrition education in schools and children’s settings, including free school meals, holiday provision with food and Healthy Start or Best Start vouchers.
Supporting those experiencing food poverty and their allies to call for action to address the root causes of food poverty and build community food resilience.
Bridging the gap between communities experiencing low incomes and health inequalities, with affordable and planet-friendly food so everyone can enjoy a universally healthy, just and sustainable food system.
Ensuring children and parents are not inundated by promotion of unhealthy, unsustainable food and drink and able to have dignified access to the support they need.
Advocating for healthy and sustainable food to be included in public procurement standards.
Sustain has been instrumental in fighting for a world that no longer requires food aid and in establishing world leading measures on advertising and healthy food. Here are some of our biggest wins:
The Children’s Food campaign secured some of the strongest legislation in the world to protect children from junk food advertising on television, resulting in a 37% reduction in advertisements aimed at children for products high in fat, salt and sugar, and further restrictions in non-broadcast media since 2017. They also worked with the Food Poverty team to secure over £500 million in support from Government during the Covid-19 crisis, including the extension of free school meals.
Bridging the Gap, launched in 2022, aims to make climate and nature friendly food available to everyone by demonstrating ways to build better supply chains for fairer, long term access.
The Sugar Smart Campaign helped establish the Sugary Drinks Duty as a mainstream concept for the UK, which resulted in the implementation of a new Soft Drinks Industry levy in 2018.
The Food Power programme now works with over 70 food poverty alliances around the UK to develop innovative responses to food poverty beyond the food bank.
The Right to Food campaign secured commitments to delivering a Right to Food in the election manifestos of the Green Party, Labour Party, Liberal Democrat, and Scottish National Party.