Henry Dimbleby Thérèse Coffey Britain COST UPS Action Gap Strategy Remark Henry Dimbleby Thérèse Coffey Britain

Food tsar blames shortages on UK’s ‘weird supermarket culture’

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The government’s food tsar has blamed Britain’s “weird supermarket culture” for recent food shortages, calling it a “market failure”.Experts have criticised ministers for “leaving food policy to Tesco”, and meeting large food chains rather than suppliers, who have been struggling with rising costs while locked into contracts with supermarkets.Henry Dimbleby, the co-founder of the restaurant chain Leon, who advises ministers on a food strategy for England, said Europe was not facing such issues because they did not have the same cultural problems.He said: “There’s just this weird supermarket culture.

A weird competitive dynamic that’s emerged in the UK, and nowhere else in the world has it, and I don’t know why that is.”Dimbleby earlier criticised the government’s response to his recommendations, saying it was “not a strategy”.He said he found the current situation “frustrating” as people were focusing on remarks about turnips, rather than structural issues with the food system. “I find it quite frustrating that everyone is suddenly worried about a gap of vegetables in February, when there are much bigger structural issues that need to resolve, and definitely the government on health has very explicitly gone backwards,” he said.Dimbleby disagreed with the environment secretary, Thérèse Coffey, who denied that the recent shortages of eggs and vegetables was a “market failure”.

He said: “This is a problem of market failure in the specifically British food system. It’s going to get worse. The UK food system is, I think, unique – I don’t know another system where the supermarkets have these fixed-price contracts with suppliers.

Read more on theguardian.com
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