MPs debate food poverty as prices keep rising

Updated on 23 January 2012 | 0 Comments

Labour has called a debate on the rising cost of food, as figures show fresh food sales dropping and fast food sales increasing.

Ministers have debated the rising cost of food in Parliament amid concerns about food poverty, food waste, poor diets and increased spending on fast food.

Food price inflation increased by 5.5% from 2010 to 2011, its highest rise since 2008, according to December’s Consumer Price Index. And Government figures show that lower-income families cut their fruit and vegetable consumption by nearly a third between 2006 and 2010 due to higher prices and decreasing incomes, which was highlighted by this story in the Guardian.

The debate also follows the release of statistics by analysts NPD which showed that over half the meals eaten out last year were fast food, up from 47% in 2008.

Labour, led by Shadow Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary Mary Creagh, tabled a motion calling for a Groceries Code Adjudicator to have the power to investigate high food prices in shops as well as empowering producers negotiate on prices.

During the debate, Creagh called for supermarkets to publish figures showing how much food they waste and to make commitments to recycle in-date food through schemes such as food banks.

On the Government's side, Caroline Spelman said that the adjudicator would be introduced "as soon as possible".

The British Retail Consortium says any adjudicator will impose a cost on retailers, which will be passed on to the public in the form of higher prices.

Earlier this month, the Government launched Change4Life, a campaign to encourage healthy eating on a budget, supported by supermarkets Aldi, Asda and the Co-op.

Who do you think should be responsible for getting us to eat more healthily? Vote in our poll below and have your say in the Comments section.


More food for thought
How we’re becoming a fast food nation

Four family main meals for under £3

Can fast food ever be healthy?


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