Rising prices add to Britain’s food crisis
A substantial rise in the price of food as a result of Britain leaving the EU is widely predicted.
In March food prices rose at the fastest rate for three years while the falling value of sterling makes it more expensive to buy food abroad, whether from Europe or elsewhere.
The value of the pound is expected to drop by a further 5 per cent over the next year.
Now all this is extremely bad news for household budgets in Rutherglen and Cambuslang and is another demonstration of the folly of leaving the European Union.
But it puts the spotlight on the value of locally produced and sourced food products.
More expensive it may be but today’s supermarkets are bulging with food of all kinds and from all places – but too often lacking the fresh, seasonal taste many of us remember from our childhood.
Potatoes are nice enough but don’t have the special taste of new potatoes in season. You can get strawberries all year round but at this time of year they tend to look and taste like turnips. Same with sprouts, which are great at Christmas but somehow less appealing in April.
Fresh pea-pods, spring onions, spring lamb, apples in the autumn – the very words stir our taste buds. The reason is that most food products have an appropriate season and that fresh, seasonal food tastes better and is better for us than processed foods or food out of season.
A radical policy on the nation’s food is long overdue. The opportunities include requiring large supermarkets to source and supply much more locally-produced food, which ought to be a winner in Scotland with its highly successful food and drink industry, much better information in shops about seasonal food and a big push on allotments, gardening clubs and community growing projects.
Farmers’ markets have also proved very popular and could make a contribution to reviving suburban shopping centres.
The public sector should also lead by example in its own food procurement requirements: schools, hospitals, care homes, etc.
Governments are rightly concerned about processed food with too much salt, too many things with sugar in them, a growing obesity crisis, children with dental problems.
A policy of support for local food is part of the picture. It is time for action on food.