Covid-19 could move UK towards food self-sufficiency

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Covid-19 could move UK towards food self-sufficiency

May 19, 2020 · by Charlie Hart and Andrew Allen in Procurement, Supply chain, Sustainability

The coronavirus pandemic and Brexit could provide a stimulus for the UK to move towards self-sufficiency in food, one of the country’s largest procurement businesses has said.

Alex Demetriou, managing director of Regency Purchasing, said the UK has the ability to become a more self-sufficient nation by changing eating habits.

He said while the UK was currently between 50% and 60% self-sufficient in terms of food production, the population could choose to eat more vegetable-based foods, such as vegan or “flexitarian” diets, to allow agricultural land to produce food for more people.

Demetriou believed that scenes such as the stripping bare of supermarket shelves by stockpilers during the coronavirus outbreak should give pause for thought over how supply chains can keep up with surges in demand.

When the UK moves beyond the current transition period of Brexit, which is due to cease at the end of this year, and new trade restrictions and taxes are enforced, supply chains could see even further stresses, he said.

“The movement of food has been disrupted like never before, with international travel limited and social distancing restrictions, making operating to meet the demand more challenging,” he said.

“These challenges could, however, create an opportunity for the UK to become a more self-sufficient food-producing nation.”

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