To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the United Kingdom Food Security Report 2021: Theme 3: Food Supply Chain Resilience published in December 2021, what assessment he has made of public (a) confidence and (b) trust in the UK's food supply chain.
Recognising the importance of food security, in the Agriculture Act 2020, the Government made a commitment to produce an assessment of our food security at least once every three years. The first UK Food Security Report (UKFSR) was published in December 2021 and will serve as an evidence base for future policy work. The UKFSR covers food security in the widest sense from global food availability and sustainability to domestic supply chain resilience, household food security and food safety.
Chapter 5 of the UK Food Security Report provides data on the key factors that underpin confidence in the UK food system. Data from the Food Standards Agency consumer survey Food and You 2, Wave 2 (2021) [www.food.gov.uk/research/food-and-you-2/food-and-you-2-wave-2] shows that 77% of respondents in England, Wales and Northern Ireland were confident in the food supply chain. Furthermore, respondents in England, Wales and Northern Ireland were asked specifically about the extent to which they were concerned about the availability of a variety of food; 13% of respondents were highly concerned, 34% somewhat concerned, 38% not very concerned, and 11% not at all concerned.
The UK has a highly resilient food supply chain, as demonstrated throughout the COVID-19 response. It is well equipped to deal with situations with the potential to cause disruption. The Government published its first ever food strategy on 13 June, outlining our plans to transform our food system to ensure it is fit for the future. Food security sits at the heart of the strategy. We want to create a sustainable food system, from farm to fork and catch to plate, seizing on the opportunities before us and ensuring that everyone has access to nutritious and healthier food.