Our food assets
Currently, the United Kingdom ranks third in the world on the Economist’s Global Food Security Index, with only Ireland and Austria ahead. This index involves weighing up the affordability, availability, quality and safety of food, as well as assessing how resilient nations are in protecting their natural resources to enable them to keep producing food now and in the future. Countries such as China, Tanzania and Oman have climbed up the list, and seven out of the ten top countries are in Europe.
The GFSI shows that countries without comprehensive, well-funded national food safety-net programmes have higher levels of hunger (and stunting in children). And we know that during this pandemic, school milk programmes worldwide kept going, helping to alleviate children’s hunger.
It’s basic science: Dairy is one of the most nutrient dense foods. It comes with a package of micro-nutrients which are either absent, or present in very low quantities, in plant alternatives and are deficient in plant-heavy diets, Julian Mellentin of New Nutrition Business points out.
Not many foods can provide that all-in-one package, as one participant in the RABDF Business & Policy Conference said online. And there was a call for more marketing to get the word out about this and other upsides to the dairy industry.
Our food security depends on getting animal welfare and its products right. Let’s face it, some people have convinced certain sectors that dairy is the enemy, when in fact we are all part of the same ecosystem – we need those plants, and we need animals.
A local cow producing local milk and cheeses has got to be a better food provider than a coconut or avocado imported from thousands of miles away – and processed so that it barely resembles the plant on which it’s based. In fact, our global food security depends on it.
- Suzanne Christiansen, editor, Dairy Industries International.
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