Our Communications Assistant, Marianne, has been looking into the systemic problems in our food system:
In an ideal world, food would be produced with a sole aim: to be nutritious. Sadly, this is not the world we live in.
According to the Food Foundation, almost 11% of British households have experienced food insecurity in the last six months. Factors such as climate change, plus fuel and gas shortages have pushed up the prices of food, demonstrating that, currently, food and economics go hand in hand.
Sadly, our current food system has become rooted around the economic incentive to generate as much money as possible. As a result, businesses feel incentivised to buy the cheapest ingredients they possibly can, and then create multiple ways to refine these into a sellable product. One example of this is the potato: a low cost crop that is reformed into products such as crisps, hash browns, frozen chips, potato waffles and Smiley Faces.
The focus on money making not only leads to the creation of unhealthy, ultra-processed foods, it leads to competition to sell food for the cheapest possible price. This should be ideal for those shopping, but unfortunately the key way to achieve a cheap product becomes reducing the cost of labour. Low wages creates a vicious circle in which the vast quantities of people who work in the food industry are left struggling to feed themselves and their families. They create demand for the cheap food that causes their wages to be low, and risk pushing the nutritional value down even further.
The heart of the food system needs to be refocused, with health rather than profit at its centre. Large companies must begin thinking of people as human beings, rather than mere consumers. Instead of inter-business competition, we need universal co-operation.
Until that time, Be Enriched will continue to support those in the community who struggle to access healthy, affordable food, offering free meals at the Elephant and Castle, and Tooting Community Canteens, plus using The Food Bus to bring low cost essentials to set spots in Lambeth and Wandsworth.
Find out more about our Community Canteens.
Find out more about The Food Bus.
During May, Be Enriched will be sharing a range of ideas and tips for saving money, to help with the Cost of Living Crisis. Check out our dedicated page, and keep an eye on our socials for more details.