Food Promises? A Manifesto Review

Food Promises? A review of shifts in UK general election manifestos 2015-2019

A report of the Food Ethics Council

General election manifestos allow political parties to present a holistic overview of their values, priorities, strategic approach, and the political and socio-economic objectives they would like the electorate to support. They are an effective snapshot of what a party believes should be done and what they hope the public will vote for.

Following the 2019 general election, we wanted to understand the degree to which political priorities which intersect with food ethics concerns have changed since 2015, if at all. For instance, to what extent have the leading political parties promised action commensurate with the scale of food-related challenges such as the climate, biodiversity and obesity crises?

We undertook a review of electoral manifestos of the Conservative, Labour, Green and Liberal Democrat parties in order to:

  • Recognise progress (where it exists)
  • Focus efforts going forward
  • Hold government to account
  • Understand our own impact

In this review, we discuss the key shifts observed between 2015 and 2019 and we analyse specific food system issues covered by the manifestos – such as food insecurity, meat and dairy production and food waste. In doing so, we explain why we believe they are significant and some of the work the Food Ethics Council has done, and continues to do, in these areas.