Academics and campaigners led by former UN special rapporteur Olivier de Schutter, have called for a systemic approach to food poverty that guarantees the human right to adequate food and nutrition in a letter to The Guardian published on 24 March 2019.
Professor Tim Lang, Founder of the Food Research Collaboration and Professor of Food Policy at the Centre for Food Policy and Professor Martin Caraher, Professor of Food and Health Policy at the Centre are among the signatories, alongside other prominent academics and food campaigners in the UK and beyond.
The letter highlights the problem with the current approach to tackling food insecurity through the use of food banks and charitable food aid, as it creates a system where the most vulnerable rely on “leftover” food. The signatories argue that this solution is only a “sticking plaster to a gaping wound” and economic and social justice in the form of living wages, income security and a fit for purpose welfare system are sorely needed.
Food banks have become an institutionalised means to tackling food poverty in the United States and in Canada, however, they have failed to solve entrenched food insecurity and are only benefitting the reputations of supermarket chains as good corporate citizens.
In an FRC food policy briefing paper published in 2017, Professor Caraher has argued that philanthropy is not a way to address hunger and, instead, governments should be addressing the structural causes of food poverty.