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How The Global Food System Is Killing Us With Henry Dimbleby And Alice Thomson

In 1950 less than 1% of British people were obese. Today that figure is 28%. We spend £3.9 billion each year on confectionery compared to £2.4 billion on fruit and vegetables. Diet-related disease is now the biggest cause of preventable illness and death in the developed world. 

How did we get to this situation? According to Henry Dimbleby, every bite we take is informed by the invisible machinations of the vast, complex global food system. And in March 2023 he came to Intelligence Squared to talk about his new book Ravenous: How To Get Ourselves And Our Planet Into Shape. Few people know the food system better than Dimbleby, who is co-founder of the Leon restaurant chain and author of the National Food Strategy, and who recently quit his role as the government’s food tsar over its inaction over obesity. In conversation with Times columnist Alice Thomson, he explained the damage our food ecosystem is doing to us and to the planet, and he will set out his strategy for creating a truly healthy and sustainable food system. 

Praise for Henry Dimbleby’s Ravenous: How To Get Ourselves And Our Planet Into Shape.

A brilliant readable guide on how to reverse our food, obesity and climate crisis – a must-read.’ – Professor Tim Spector

‘Food should be a source of joy, but the way we eat is leading us into disaster. This is a delicious, highly digestible guide to building a better food system, for the sake of our bodies and our planet.’ – Prue Leith

‘Economists like me often say that, in public policy, there is no such thing as a free lunch. Henry Dimbleby’s book provides not only a free lunch for the nation, but a healthy one.’ – Andy Haldane, former chief economist of the Bank of England




Henry Dimbleby

 Co-founder of LEON, food campaigner and author of Ravenous: How To Get Ourselves And Our Planet Into Shape

Co-founder of LEON and the Director of The Sustainable Restaurant Association, which runs some of London's most successful street food markets. His work with DEFRA culminated in the National Food Strategy – a policy proposal widely praised by industry-wide figures such as Yotam Ottolenghi and Sir Partha Dasgupta. In 2013 he co-authored The School Food Plan, which set out actions to transform what children eat in schools and how they learn about food. His new book is Ravenous: How To Get Ourselves And Our Planet Into Shape.  

Alice Thomson

Columnist and interviewer at The Times

Columnist and interviewer at The Times. A former Times trainee, she became a foreign correspondent, feature writer and political reporter for the paper before moving to The Telegraph as a columnist, restaurant reviewer and leader writer. She returned to The Times in 2008. She is the co-author with Rachel Sylvester of What I Wish I’d Known When I Was Young: The Inspirational New Book About the Art and Science of Growing Up, and co-host of the Past Imperfect podcast.