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Food injustice

Between 1st April 2017 and 31st March 2018, The Trussell Trust’s foodbank network distributed 1,332,952 three-day emergency food supplies to people in crisis, a 13% increase on the previous year. 484,026 of these went to children. This is a higher increase than the previous financial year, where foodbank use was up by 6%.

More than one in 10 households in England are living in fuel poverty.  A government report said more than two-and-a-half million families were unable to pay the costs associated with heating their homes without falling below the poverty line in 2016 – an increase of 69,000 on the previous year. Levels of fuel poverty were highest in the private rented sector, where almost a fifth of households (19 per cent) were struggling with bills and where difficulty in meeting the costs is more acute.

Independent 2018

This Christmas British families will spend an average £821.25 on gifts, food and drink and decorations, up 1.3 per cent on last year and 54 per cent more than the European average of £532, according to figures from VoucherCodes and the Centre for Retail Research (CRR).

(Independent, 2017)

The national minimum wage is 7.50 for anyone over the age of 25, and for an apprentice £3.50 per hour.

Average water use per person per day in the UK is 150 litres per person per day. A sustainable level of Water consumption is 80-100 litres per person per day.

(UK Water Industry)

Two thousand litres of water are needed to produce just one kilo of avocados – four times the amount needed to produce a kilo of oranges, and 10 times what is needed to produce a kilo of tomatoes, according to the Water Footprint Network. UK demand for Avocados increased by 27% last year alone.


High Street Chain restaurants: choice is an illusion.

Until 2016 Bills and Cote Brasserie were owned by the same company: then Cote was sold to CBPE, the same company that owns Limeyard and Jackson & rye.

In 2010 Nando’s bought Gourmet Burger Kitchen and The Real Greek, then sold it to a South African chain in 2016. Nando’s owns 14.5% of Domino’s Pizza and Starbucks SA.

JAB owns Pret a Manger, Keurig Green Mountain and Douwe Egberts as well as luxury coffee houses including Peet’s Coffee, Peet’s subsidiary Stumptown Coffee Roasters, and Caribou Coffee, plus Panera and Krispy Kreme.

TPG Holdings owns Prezzo’s, Chimichanga, Caffe Uno, MEXIco and Cleaver restaurants.

Bridgepoint Capital owns Burger King, Ask Italian, Zizzi, and a chunk of Deliveroo.

CDG (Casual Dining Group) operate Café Rouge, Bella Italia, La Tasca, Belgo, Las Iguanas.

Landmark Group is a multinational conglomerate based in Dubai: Spar supermarkets, Carluccio’s, Xafran, Ushna, ChiZen, Max’s (Filipino Chicken) and Fitness First.

Famous Brands (South African Company) own Boulangerie Paul, Gourmet Burger Kitchen, and Wimpy

The UK grows 61% of the food it eats (NFU/Tim Lang professor of food policy at City University, London) and yet 30% of all food is wasted.

Almost 60% of the fuel used to generate the UK’s energy comes from abroad. We import coal from Russia, gas from Norway and uranium from Kazakhstan. This fuel travels an average distance of over 2,500 miles before it even reaches us.

(Good Energy)

Britain is one of the largest wool producers in the world, yielding nearly 22,000 tonnes per year. Farmers receive up to £1.50 per kilo for their wool, a 300% increase on the price paid back in 2009. There are 45,000 sheep farmers in the UK.  34 million sheep reside in the British Isles.

Make it

In the supermarket choice and competition are an illusion: All the biggest product brands in the world are owned by a handful of corporations. Food, cleaning products, banks, airlines, cars, media companies... everything is in the hands of these mega-corporations.

Mondelez = amongst others: Kraft + Cadbury’s, Clorets, Ritz, Dairylea, Jacobs, Toblerone, Milka

Coca-Cola = includes Vitamin water, Smart Water, Innocent, Glaceau, Fanta, Sprite, Honest Tea, Five Alive, Minute Maid.

Nestlé = Wonka, Nescafe, Polos, Milky Bar, Yorkie, Buitoni Pasta, Vittel, Perrier, S.Pellegrino, Juicy Juice, Boost, Moyenpick, Boost, Power Bar, + infant formulas.

Pepsico = Quaker Oats, Scotts Porridge Oats, Aunt Jemima, Harvest Crunch, Pepsi, 7up, Tropicana, Copella, McVities, Munchies, Smith’s Crisps, Walker’s Crisps, Doritos, Fritos, Cheetos

Mars = Uncle Ben’s, Dolmio, Wrigley, Juicy Fruit, Skittles, Orbit, Galaxy, Snickers, Twix, and Dove

Danone = not just the yoghurts but Evian, Badoit and Volvic too

General Mills = Jus-roll, Cheerios, Fitness, the Jolly Green Giant, Cocoa-Puffs, Haagen-Daas, Yoplait, Nature Valley

Kellogg's = Cornflakes, Crunchy Nut etc, plus Nutri-Grain, Cheez-it, Pringles, Pop-tarts

Associated British Foods = Pataks, Blue Dragon, Jordans, Kingsmill, Allinson, Burgen, Sunblest, Ryvita, Ovaltine, Twinning, Silver Spoon

Unilever = P&G, Liptons, Bovril, Slimfast, Cornetto, Marmite, Knorr, Colmans, Elmlea, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, Stork, Blue Band, Hellman’s, Ben & Jerry’s, Magnum and Pot Noodle.

The British may waste more food than any other nation, throwing out 30-40% of all the produce they buy and grow each year. The waste starts with farmers, who are frequently forced to plough up or dispose of large amounts of perfectly good fruit and vegetables because of rigid contracts with processors or retailers. These usually specify the size and shape of fruits and vegetables, and the exact number needed.

"If you have even a small increase of temperature, you may see a 10-20% increase in crop yields," said Phil Hudson of the National Farmers Union. Consumers were also largely responsible for wastage, said Mr Hudson. "We now always look for a specific size and shape of food in supermarkets. Anything outside that is left on the shelf. But is this human nature or are we being conditioned by retailers to look for this? We have certainly created a level of expectation which encourages large scale waste."

A recent found that 61% of people admit throwing out at least one bag of salad each week without even removing the packaging. A similar percentage threw away unused loaves of bread and fruit, while slightly fewer threw out milk, cheese and meat. Also regularly wasted were prepared meals. "People just buy more than they can eat," said Peter Jones, a Biffa director. The food manufacturing industry, which prepares convenience foods, sandwiches, tinned food and processed food, throws away at least 1m tonnes a year, Mr Jones said.

"A very few people remember rationing, but most of us have no idea what it is like not to have enough food," said Jeanette Longfield, coordinator of Sustain, a group of more than 100 food, environmental and other charities and unions. "The only justification for chucking stuff is because it is unsafe. We don't know how it is produced so they chuck it out without thinking."

(Guardian 2005)

As of the start of 2018, there were upwards of 750,000 property millionaires in Britain (430, 720 in London)

The UK is made up of approximately 60 million acres. The top 50 landowners currently own 7.3 million acres combined which equates to over 12% of Britain’s landmass.

(Finance monthly)

The world’s eight richest billionaires control the same wealth between them as the poorest half of the globe’s population, according to Oxfam, who blamed rising inequality on aggressive wage restraint, tax dodging and the squeezing of producers by companies.

Oxfam said the world’s poorest 50% owned the same in assets as the $426bn owned by a group headed by Gates, Amancio Ortega (founder of the Spanish fashion chain Zara), and Warren Buffet. The others are Carlos Slim Helú: the Mexican telecoms tycoon; Jeff Bezos: (Amazon); Mark Zuckerberg: (Facebook); Larry Ellison, (Oracle); and Michael Bloomberg; (former mayor of NY and founder of the Bloomberg news and financial information service).

Last year, Oxfam said the world’s 62 richest billionaires were as wealthy as half the world’s population. However, the number has dropped to eight in 2017 because new information shows that poverty in China and India is worse than previously thought, making the bottom 50% even worse off and widening the gap between rich and poor.

More than a million people in the UK live in “food deserts” – neighbourhoods where poverty, poor public transport and a dearth of big supermarkets severely limit access to affordable fresh fruit and vegetables. Nearly one in 10 of the country’s most economically deprived areas are food deserts – typically large out-of-town housing estates and deprived inner-city wards served by a handful of small, relatively expensive corner shops.

The most deprived areas include Marfleet in Hull, Hartcliffe in Bristol, Hattersley in Greater Manchester, Everton in Liverpool and Sparkbrook in Birmingham. Eight of Scotland’s 10 most deprived food deserts are in Glasgow, and three of Wales’s nine worst are in Cardiff.

The study, by the Social Market Foundation thinktank and food company Kellogg’s, says poor, elderly and disabled people are disproportionately affected, as they cannot afford or are physically unable to travel to large supermarkets.

The report cites Lisa Cauchi, a mother of eight in Salford, in the north-west of England, who said the nearest reliable source of affordable fresh fruit and vegetables was a big supermarket half an hour’s walk away. She occasionally gets a taxi but finds that depletes her food budget. “A taxi is a meal,” she said.

Guardian 12th Oct 2018

Almost 4 million children in the UK are estimated to live in households that would struggle to afford to buy enough fruit, vegetables and other healthy foods to meet official nutrition guidelines, according to the Food Foundation. Food prices rose by 7.7% between 2002 and 2016, while incomes for the poorest families fell by 7.1%.

Anna Taylor, chief executive of the Food Foundation, called for urgent action by local authorities and central government to tackle the problem. “If you’re in the poorest 20% of households you need to spend 42% of your disposable income after housing costs to afford the government’s recommended diet. Compound this with transport costs to get to a food shop and a healthy meal is even further out of reach.”

Guardian 12th Oct 2018

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