Commenting on the strategy, which proposes potential higher taxes on products that are high in sugar or salt, a broadened school meals approach, and fruit and vegetables available on prescription, IGD chief executive Susan Barratt, outlined the group's support for the initiative.
"We support the direction of travel set out in the National Food Strategy, which aligns with IGD’s own ambition to see an acceleration in the progress towards a more sustainable food system and to make healthy and sustainable diets easy for everyone," she said.
“We also welcome the NFS’s ambition to involve the whole industry in this challenge, and for providing clarity around the required dietary shift at a national level. In addition, we recognise the value of the open and transparent approach that the NFS recommends."
Step In The Right Direction
Noting that many of the recommendations within the NFS will likely prove "challenging", Barratt described them as a constructive step in the right direction towards improving the general health of UK citizens.
"We know from our conversations with businesses across our industry that there is a real desire to find a clear way forward and to help deliver a long-term positive change to Britain’s food system," she said.
“There is now more to be done, as the government works through the details of how the recommendations will be implemented in a way that is both practical and achievable for our industry. IGD stands ready to play our part in that process; we have a unique ability to bring stakeholders together from across the whole food and grocery industry."
Elsewhere, the UK's Food and Drink Federation (FDF), said that while the strategy will "help inform the wider conversation" around the future direction of the UK's food and drink industry, extra taxation is not the answer.
"A salt and sugar tax will ultimately impact those families who are already struggling to make ends meet, by making food and drink more expensive," the FDF’s Chief Scientific Officer, Kate Halliwell, said.
"After many years of cost pressures, businesses in our sector are already operating on very tight margins, and any further costs would simply have to be passed on to the consumer in the form of higher food prices."