Food and drink industry lobbying in the UK
Lobbying is an integral part of our democratic system, allowing interested parties to present data and arguments to policy-makers and thus helping politicians to make good public decisions. But it is closely linked to power – and power inequalities – and can thus distort public decision-making. This is why it requires public scrutiny. The economic weight of the food and drink sector in the UK makes it particularly important to analyse the industry’s numerous interactions with policy-makers.
Our Discussion Papers, by FRC Communications and Engagement Officer Antony So, present publicly available information on declared meetings between food and drink businesses and UK policy-makers. They show that these declarations are broad, vague and largely unhelpful.
The project has two parts:
The first report, To discuss business, shows that other countries have much more stringent requirements for disclosing lobbying activities. By adopting some of these, the UK could improve transparency and trust in lobbying, business and policy-making.
The second report, Shaping the debate, examines meetings between policymakers and lobbyists that took place between July 2020 and July 2021, when the British government was putting policies in place to restrict the promotion of foods high in fat, sugar and salt (HFSS). It assesses how these meetings might cause political ambitions to differ from political reality.