Welsh Food Policy

Working to develop a new service – you are welcome to contribute!

During meetings we often use words and phrases that may not be fully or consistently understood, such as; food poverty, food (in)security, cash-first approach, income maximisation, affordable food, food bank, food pantry, food club, community fridge /pantry, food resilience and cultural foods.In this Jargon Buster Lewes & District Food Partnership have provided examples and definitions of affordable and emergency food schemes.


Dignity in Practice

Learning, tools, and guidance for community food providers


Sustain’s Diversity Style guide

This includes some guidance around talking about food insecurity as well as health and weight, and other diversity aspects.


Scotland – industry responsibility

“Industry has many levers it can pull to improve the healthfulness of the food we eat. .., the food industry needs to acknowledge the significant role it plays in this health crisis and take responsibility for being part of the solution….there is no single way to make the significant and urgent change … it will need layers of policies and initiatives that address different facets of our food environments. Approaches such as reformulating some food products that are particularly high in fat, salt and sugar so they … don’t harm our health could have significant positive effects on obesity.


Food Insecurity

The UK Food Standards Agency provide the latest evidence on food insecurity.

https://www.food.gov.uk/print/pdf/node/18891 Approximately a quarter of respondents were food insecure (for example, had low or very low food security) in England (24%), Wales (27%) and Northern Ireland (26%)

Food security varied by age group with older adults being more likely to report that they were food secure and less likely to report that they were food insecure than younger adults.

Above from FSA’s flagship survey shows food insecurity continues to rise.
Read more: https://www.food.gov.uk/…/fsas-flagship-survey-shows…

Cancer striking more and more people

“The basic message hasn’t changed – don’t smoke, drink alcohol sparingly, eat less and move more – but it’s clear that relying on education and individual behaviour is not enough. As a recent analysis from the UK recommends, we need good social policies and interventions including regulation and taxation to shape population health which will deliver benefits for all” See  https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2023/aug/04/cancer-is-striking-more-people-in-the-prime-of-their-lives-what-can-we-do-better 

‘We need a new long-term vision for food in Wales’  This is a recent contribution by Derek Walker – Future Generations Commissioner for Wales


It says, “This autumn, I will publish my priorities for my role for the next seven years, and the long-term questions I’m exploring include – how can we involve communities to shift diets to meet the nature and climate emergencies and create green jobs? And what kind of support do food businesses and consumers need to grow and eat more fruits and vegetables?”

Public Health Nutrition

In our view, government has a key interventionist role – see the Scottish NESTA report above. One seriously neglected aspect concerns Public Health Nutrition and how markets are nudged in a planned way to meet Public Health  requirements. Welsh Government can give a lead,  requiring policy direction, appropriate regulation of food standards  – that are consistently applied through publicly funded catering – we already do this with the Welsh Free Breakfast programme. This approach needs extending to the School Meals Service and separate NHS Local Health Boards, enabled by adequate funding. Procurement for the Public Good to address improved nutritional standards.

Procurement for the Public Good

Public procurement of food is an under-utilised tool to improve dietary intake. Ultra-processed Foods are a major driver of growing child and adult obesity. Government should regulate levels of industrial processing in school food so that 75% of the food purchased must be minimally processed and wherever possible 30% must be supplied from local sources.” See: https://www.imperial.ac.uk/news/223573/urgent-action-needed-reduce-harm-ultra-processed/

Ultra-processed Foods

This latest study provides new, important data on the impact of industrial food processing, in which foods are modified to change their consistency, taste, colour, shelf life or other attributes through mechanical or chemical alteration – typically lacking in traditional, home-prepared meals – on child health. Led by a team from Imperial’s School of Public Health The work is the first to look at the link between the consumption of UPFs and obesity in children over a long period of time, with findings broadly applicable to children across the UK)

Reducing health inequalities

Reliable, nutritious food at school helps children to focus on their learning and attainment. Crucially, it will also result in a healthier population and reduce health inequalities. Any future UK government should fund & deliver, within its first term in office, a progressive roll out of healthy school meals for all primary school children and expand access for any secondary school children living in poverty.

Labour’s draft manifesto

In a recent submission to Labour’s draft manifesto reference is made to ‘breakfast clubs’  in terms of family support, without relating to this wider ‘anti- poverty measure’. This and the above comments on public catering should be seem as mutually reinforcing each other and can also be seen as supporting the creation of socially useful employment.

UK wide summary

It is noted that Welsh government provides free lunches for all primary school children by 2024. In Scotland, children receive free meals for the first five years of primary school. In Northern Ireland, the family earnings threshold for free school meals entitlement is £14,000, compared to £7400 in England. This is intended to enable  many more families to benefit from school meals provision.