“Political cowardice” is blocking urgently needed action to curb marketing of junk food, organic leaders have warned.
The comment came during a main stage event at last week’s Groundswell farming festival, which featured politicians from across the political spectrum, along with farmers and environmentalists.
While speakers at the event agreed that common ground existed on the broad direction of sustainable farming, with Lord Benyon, minister of state at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, commenting that “there’s not a lot that actually divides us on these key issues”, deep frustration was expressed by some speakers on politicians’ failure to act on “bad diet”.
Commenting on the Government’s decision to further delay a ban on two-for-one junk food promotions and other marketing restrictions, the Soil Association’s head of food policy, Rob Percival, said: “The supermarkets are saying do it, we’re ready. It’s political cowardice not to. There is really good evidence that buy-one-get-one-free deals make people spend more money. There is public appetite for government intervention – there’s no excuses.”
“politicians need to grasp the importance of tackling the issue of ultra-processed foods, and using the cost-of-living crisis to stall on things like junk food promotions is quite disgraceful”
The organic charity’s chief executive, Helen Browning, commented: “Things are happening around sustainable farming policy, but the big failing is on health. For instance, politicians need to grasp the importance of tackling the issue of ultra-processed foods, and using the cost-of-living crisis to stall on things like junk food promotions is quite disgraceful.”
Main image: Helen Browning addressing the Groundswell festival. Groundswell, via YouTube