Vegetarian Diet Advised in Anticipation of World Food Shortage
By Bernice Hurst, Contributing Editor, RetailWire
When carrots don’t work, underlying sticks are sometimes allowed to show. Years
of encouraging people to eat a balanced diet and maintain a healthy lifestyle
have not produced overwhelmingly positive results. By way of letting the stick
peek out, a report on the future of food security in the U.K. has suggested
that “the British people face wartime rations and a vegetarian diet in the
event of a world food shortage,” according to a report in The
Much of the U.K.’s
cereal production is used as animal feed. The
to a worst-way scenario drawn up by the government in which “cereal crops
would be used to feed the nation and ensure that each person received sufficient
the event of an extreme emergency the most dramatic consequence would be
every person eating a predominantly vegetarian diet – more cereals, fruit
and vegetables and less meat and poultry.”
Hilary Benn, the
government minister with responsibility for food supply, asked his Department
for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to compile two documents
for discussion. Food 2030 is soliciting views online about the future of
the U.K. food system while Food Matters: One Year On updates progress on
a 2008 Cabinet Office report.
It is Mr. Benn’s
intention to involve consumers in a debate about food security alongside
encouraging them to follow healthier diets and introducing a range of new
production techniques that don’t damage natural resources.
To be fair, Mr.
Benn is trying to put things into perspective. This means developing an
awareness of how production methods will be affected by climate change,
anticipated population growth and shortages of the natural resources on
which farmers and producers depend. Mr. Benn also wants to emphasize global
dependency and encourage consideration of new scientific and technological
methods. Most of all, he wants the public to make individual decisions
based on universal factors. That this may, one day, maybe, possibly, require
government intervention is the stick that he is allowing to show without
actually (yet) being wielded.
Should American retailers start getting ahead of the curve by promoting
more vegetarian and non-meat products? Is it wise to focus on home-produced
food and commodities rather than those imported in preparation for additional
global competition and shortages in the future?