Food Policy Barometer

A tool to help critically assess policy ideas relating to food & farming

What are the different dimensions you should consider when assessing a policy idea relating to food and farming? How can you begin to judge whether it makes sense to promote or implement a new policy idea? How can you assess if a policy proposal might make a net positive contribution?

There’s no perfect process for this. Any policy assessment will involve a whole host of considerations, including factors such as political feasibility, cost, likely public acceptance and more. While in no way underplaying the importance of those, we have focused here on four aspects we feel are particularly important in considering ‘in the round’ effects, namely likely impacts on human health, environmental sustainability, social justice (‘fair to people’) and animal welfare.

The Food Policy Barometer is a tool/ prompt that takes you through important questions to consider. It also contains a template for people to use when considering new and emerging policy ideas (it can also be applied to existing policies too).

This tool does not give you all the answers or make the judgement for you. It is aimed at policymakers and policy influencers and is intended to be a prompt to ensure policies are looked at through a wide angle lens rather than a pair of ‘tunnel vision’ glasses. It is not a substitute for collecting evidence or views from people – it should be used in conjunction with the best evidence (of all kinds) available to come to an ‘in the round’ judgement.

It can be used as part of our Food Policy on Trial series, which puts bold policy ideas ‘in the dock’, with expert witnesses sharing insights and evidence to a jury of Food Ethics Council members and to a wider audience.

Note: This is a beta version, i.e. a ‘work-in-progress’ version and we would love your input and comments. Please e-mail with ‘Assessing food policy’ in the title if you have any suggestions for how we could further strengthen it and/ or if you use it, how you have done so and what you found useful.