University of York: University of York researchers have their say on the Government’s National Food Strategy

The experts are part of the N8 AgriFood Food Systems Policy Hub, which brings together expertise from the eight most research-intensive universities in the North of England.

Each of the 14 recommendations in the National Food Strategy’s final report was looked at by a relevant expert, with University of York researchers responding to three of the recommendations.


Written by Henry Dimbleby, and published this summer, the National Food Strategy was the first independent review of England’s entire food system in 75 years.

It lays out measures for transforming the food system into something better for the future, with a focus on health, the environment, agriculture, resilience and sustainability, and the economy.

The Food Systems Policy Hub’s Response will now be delivered to the white paper team working within Defra, who are coordinating the official Government response to the National Food Strategy, which will also be presented to the National Food Strategy All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG), overseen by The Food Foundation.


Within the response, experts from across the N8 Research Partnership have backed important calls for action made in the National Food Strategy, as well as highlighting several key factors missing from the strategy, and suggesting best practice for introducing policy to support the 14 Recommendations made by the National Food Strategy team.

Professor Tony Heron from the Department of Politics responded to recommendation 10, which called for defining minimum standards for trade, and a mechanism for protecting them.

Professor Bob Doherty, Professor of Marketing and Chair in Agrifood at the University of York Management School looked at recommendation 14, which suggests clear targets should be set to bring in legislation for long-term change.

FixOurFood researchers based at the University of York also responded to recommendation 6, which encouraged funding the Holiday Activities and Food programme for the next three years.

Policy impact

As the first independent response to the National Food Strategy to combine analysis from multiple institutions, the Food Systems Policy Hub seeks to ensure a full food systems approach is given to any Government action arising from the National Food Strategy’s recommendations.

The N8 AgriFood Food Systems Policy Hub is a spin-out from the N8 AgriFood Project, of which the University of York was a member institution. The Food Systems Policy Hub works to translate research and expert knowledge from across N8 AgriFood into policy impact, supporting a food systems approach to food-related policy at regional, national and international levels within governments, the private sector, charities and NGOs.