The food crisis is going to get worse. So what can we do?

I don’t think there’s any getting away from the fact that the world has a food crisis on its hands. Or that it’s going to get a whole lot worse very quickly unless we see some radical change.

The UK is a predominantly service-led economy and has been for too many years. We now import 60%-70% of our foodstuffs. That’s far too high, when you consider that nobody is producing enough for those suppliers.

What we’ve got to do now is look to the land and think about producing much more of our own food. At Cucina, for example, we’re now thinking about establishing relationships with pig-farmers so that we can start making our own bacon. And with dairies too, to start getting our own yoghurt, milk and cheese supplies.

This ‘vertical integration’ approach – becoming your own supplier – will have to be seriously considered by many companies if they want to safeguard supply and also have more control over it.

I can see a lot of the large companies creating these kinds of links with suppliers. A bit like the M&S idea of giving people a fair price, and not trying to squeeze them too much. You get a quality product, and in return you have a happy supplier.

And there are other things we can do too, like choosing Fairtrade products, excluding ‘at-risk’ fish species and using local, seasonally available ingredients.

There isn’t any easy or short-term solution to any major crisis, I guess, but the food industry as a whole needs to do lots of creative thinking. If you’ve got some ideas on this one, I’d love you to go to the Cucina Facebook Page and share them there:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Cucina-Restaurants/110609838988462

Till next time,

Steve

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