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What’s wrong with cheap food?


Food thumb

Cheap food is said to be of poor quality with wider implications for our health, has led us to become wasteful and has implications for the environment. Yet in this instructive debate filmed at the Battle of Ideas we learn there is much to celebrate about cheap food. In the 1930s for example, around 30 per cent of the average income was spent on food. Today, the figure is nearer 10 per cent. The terrific line-up of speakers who share their thoughts on this with us are: Rob Lyons, science and technology director, Institute of Ideas; Andrew Opie, director for food and sustainability, British Retail Consortium; Alex Renton, writer on food and food policy, author of Planet Carnivore and the chair is Justine Brian, director, Debating Matters Competition.

Battle of Ideas session details

Related topics: Debates

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Lara said:

I find it bizarre that some people find the idea of cheap food problematic. For me, the cheaper the better. Also, although our food costs less, its certainly of a higher standard and quality than ever before.

Julie Pinsar said:

Great a rare and honest discussion. Glad all the panel agree we have made great strides with cheaper food. We do live longer and better as a result with more to spend on leisure. This however is not the majority view which does deride everything from burgers to now bacon sandwiches. I hope this gets a lot of viewings to redress the balance.

Andrew Orwell said:

We need to drop the romanticism we have in this country about farming and get more mechanised – then we can have even cheaper food.

Jonty said:

Glad to see the panel praising cheap food – perfect antidote to Jamie Oliver’s sick-making hectoring.